Residents of the Ikorodu area of Lagos State have expressed anger over the plan to relocate the Ikorodu Local Government Area Secretariat to a rented office apartment.
The plan, our correspondent learnt, was to build a shopping mall on the vacated land.
PUNCH Metro gathered that residents took the report with a
pinch of salt when it was mooted about a year ago until the
council issued a statement confirming the report in June.
The statement, said to have been issued by the council and
circulated on social media platforms, read,
With the permission and directives of the Chairman, Ikorodu Local Government Area, Wasiu Adeshina (under the Lagos State Government’s watch), we announce the official relocation and movement of the council secretariat from its present location (T.O.S. Benson Road) to a temporary site (Lagos Road) from Monday, June 11, 2018.
All staff and concerned partners are informed of this development all in the interest of Ikorodu.
Residents and indigenes, who reacted to the news on
Ikorodu Ambassadors, a community platform on Facebook,
condemned the move.
They expressed the fear that the secretariat,
which is opposite the Ikorodu General Hospital,
if turned to a mall, could create gridlock and endanger
the lives of patients in urgent need of medical aid.
One of them, Ola Animashaun, wrote,
Those who moved the Ikorodu secretariat from Ita-Elewa had a dream.
They wanted a befitting secretariat that would be big enough
to accommodate members of staff comfortably and be conducive
and accessible for delivery of government business and social services.
They actualised that dream.
Now, some myopic rent-seeking individuals are about to
turn this dream into a market and relocate the
local government from a purpose-built edifice
to a block of flats.
Another social media user, Hamed Ademuyiwa, wondered why another site could not be used for the mall, whose anchor tenant is Shoprite.
He said, Are we saying that the secretariat is the only place where Shoprite can be located?
Have we considered traffic congestion that will be created on the only way that leads to the general hospital?
What will happen to emergency transport to and from the general hospital?
If people can go from Ikorodu to Shoprite in Ikeja, Lekki, Ajah and Surulere;
What will stop them from going to Shoprite if it is located in Igbogbo, Imota, Gberigbe, Ijede or any other place within Ikorodu?
Posterity will never forget all those involved in the deal. We are watching what you will do with the money collected on this deal and how well you can convince us on why you did this to us.
Another resident, Taiwo Liasu, said he was saddened by the news,
urging people in the area to protest the decision.
It saddened my heart when I heard the news that the local government where I worked would be moved to a rented apartment. All hands must be on deck to resist it through peaceful massive protests, he said.
However, some other residents applauded the move,
saying the plan would quicken development in the area.
One Adeniyi Babatunde asked residents to look at the bigger picture of the project.
We complain that Ikorodu is underdeveloped. Now that the development is knocking on our doors, we want to push it away? Make no mistake, local government is a branch of government.
It is not your heritage, not a monument, not a birthright as some people are asserting.
The structures you see are no more than government offices for the local government.
Compare this to what residents of Ikorodu will gain having an ultra modern mall that will comprise Shoprite as we know it, a cinema hall, banks, maybe clothing stores, restaurants and recreation spots, not to mention the jobs that will come with it.
“Of what benefit is it to the people to keep a moribund secretariat?
Sentimental resentments don’t build cities, they diminish it.
Maybe it’s time we began dreaming big.
People are now dreaming of smart cities and not keeping
dilapidated secretariats,” he said.
Another respondent, Mudashiru Ismail,
said the relocation of the secretariat
was a sacrifice that must be made for posterity.
A councillor representing Ward C, Awolesi Omotayo,
told PUNCH Metro at his Ikorodu office that the
community would benefit a lot from the relocation.
The Chairman, Ikorodu LGA, Wasiu Adeshina,
said the secretariat was underutilised,
adding that its relocation had been concluded.
The capability of the local government cannot maintain
the present structure that we have here.
So, if development is coming to Ikorodu,
I think we need to support it.
It is true that the secretariat is proposed to be
used as Shoprite (mall), and for Shoprite itself to
come to Ikorodu, there are many economic gains
we are going to derive.
The project is going to bring employment opportunities
to our numerous youths and my proposition is
that Ikorodu indigenes should be considered first.
We are not selling out the land;
the C-of-O of the land is written in
the name of Ikorodu LGA.
It means that there is a lease agreement
between investors and the council.
“On the temporary office that is rented on Lagos Road,
the state government was magnanimous.
The state government agreed to hire a place for us
for 12 to 14 months so that we can have a place to put our
heads before the completion of the new secretariat.
“They don’t want us to lose this opportunity of economic
development in Ikorodu. What we initially proposed was
that they should build the new secretariat before we move,
but the investors said they cannot put their investment on
hold and that it is better that the secretariat and Shoprite
move concurrently. So, immediately we move out of this place,
they will start the project.
“Arrangement for the construction of the new secretariat
has been concluded and the site is located at Ita-Elewa,
which was the original location of Ikorodu secretariat
before it was moved to this place. So invariably,
we are moving back to Ita-Elewa with ultra modern offices.”
Source: Punch Newspapers