A 62-year-old man, Mr. Abdrahmon Amuka, yesterday collapsed and was hospitalized after Lagos State government demolished his house and shop at Abule Egba. Amuka’s structures were part of buildings demolished to pave way for the construction of an overhead bridge on the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway.
The demolition, which began on Tuesday, continued yesterday. Structures demolished included financial institutions such as GTB and Wema Bank and eateries among them Sweet Sensation. Others were a filling station and some shopping complexes In all, about 28 houses were pulled down.
Amuka, it was learnt, collapsed yesterday when he was told that his house and shop had been demolished. He was rushed to Blessed Medical Centre, a private hospital. When New Telegraph visited the hospital, the hospital’s Chief Medical Director (CMD) said Amuka could not be disturbed at the moment.
One of the man’s close friends, Mr. Ajani Ahmed, described it as an unfortunate incident. He said: “We never knew his house and shop would be demolished. We were only given one week notice to prepare ourselves and relocate to another place.
“They said the demolition was to give way for the expansion of the road construction. To our surprise, some officials of the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development came on Tuesday only to begin demolition the following day. We don’t have anywhere to pack to.
“Some landlords and I rushed Amuka to the hospital to prevent his death. We then sent for his children who later came. Some of us depend on the house rent to survive and we do not have any tangible work we do now because of old age. Government should look into our issue and compensate us.” Mr. Moshood Alabi, another landlord whose house was demolished, said most of them built their houses with their gratuities.
He said: “It was true government promised to compensate us, but some of us do not have certificates of occupancy. We only have receipts of payment we collected from the land owners. Therefore, there is no way we can be compensated by government. Now, all our life savings had gone down the drain.
“Some landlords cannot recover from the shock of the demolition, because no amount of money government gives them will adequately compensate for their demolished structures.” Some workers were seen at Progress Seafood Company salvaging the firm’s valuables from the rumble after the demolition of their cold room.
Mrs. Modupe Idowu, a fish seller at the cold room, said they were not happy with the demolition. She said: “We have been sent out of the market. The cold room is the only place where we buy on credit from the dealer while we pay them back after selling. Now that the cold room has been pulled down, we do not know where to start from now.”
Idowu added that some of them were the ones taking care of their families. According to her, some husbands cannot cater for their families’ needs because of the economic situation of the country. Mrs. Chigozia Stella said the only shop that sustained her family had been demolished without providing alternative for them.
She said: “Our landlord did not inform us about the demolition. We just paid him another one year rent on Saturday only for the building to be pulled down today (yesterday). We are supposed to be given three months’ notice. This action is not fair to me and my family.
“We don’t know where to start from now. Our business has been destroyed. To bring development is good, but it ought to be done with humane face. Our landlord is not working and his three buildings have been demolished.”