FOR a long time, residents of the Ipaja-Ayobo axis of Alimosho Local Council of Lagos state had complained of marginalization.
They would point out that their roads are in very bad shape and that the drains are ignored by government.
Yesterday, still they were complaining , not about roads and drains but about the demolition of structures that government says must make way for development projects to be executed.
For one such project, a dual-carriageway through Ipaja and Ayobo to link Lagos and Ogun states , shops, homes and other buildings , yesterday , fell to the onslaught of bulldozers.
From around 11.00 a.m. when the demolition started at the Ayobo main garage, shop owners were seen running helter-skelter , trying to save their wares before the bulldozers and caterpillars arrived.
They had been told , that the road project would include a round-about beautified with ornamental plants as well as Bus Franchise Service depot in the area.
While some residents and traders wore grim faces, others had resigned themselves to their fate.
One of them, Nathaniel Ogunamiedo who spoke to The Guardian said his six shops were marked for demolition lamenting that he was not prepared for the exercise.
“The shops were built by government to whom we pay rent which I have been doing since 2004/2005.
“I had six shops and had been operating as a registered company and collect my wares direct from the company.
“I was once a teacher before I started this business. I have a wife and four children and this is where we earn our living. I have no other means of livelihood.
“I think the government should compensate us and I would even prefer relocating us because many of us earn our living here.
“One of us, a woman took ill because she felt she would not know where to start from.
“I am not opposing development and I also know that some people would surely pay the price but I also expect that consideration should be given to those of us earning our living in these shops.
“The government should be concerned about us and relocate us and not just to demolish our shops and leave us naked to fend for ourselves.
“Disregard for how we continue to live after the demolition would mean that the government does not consider us as responsible people with families .”
Another trader, Emmanuel Orakwe said: “I had three shops here and all are gone. In fact it was not long I rented those shops and just started using one of them. Everybody wants development and so we have to accept it in good faith.”
The Co-odinator for Ayobo Community Development Area, Mr. Abram Oladele who said the demolition would lead to development told The Guardian: “It is just unfortunate that some people are being adversely , but that is life. Some people would have to pay a higher price.
“Ayobo is a place that has been long neglected , but changes are now taking place with the local council itself rehabilitating Alaja road.
“At the Primary School over there, a new fence has been constructed for the safety of the children because it used to be a death trap.
“So, this is part of the development and it is just unfortunate that some people will have to bear the pains for this.
“The road construction that is on-going is terminating at Lagos-Ogun state border while the second phase is a road leading to Ishefun.
“In fact the Lagos State government is planning to create a link from Isheri to Victoria Island and by the time all these are completed, Ayobo will be a new town indeed.”