Occupants of shops and offices on Allen Avenue in the Ikeja axis of Lagos, have expressed displeasure over the sealing off of their business premises by the state government without prior notice.
The Lagos State Building Control Agency, LSBCA, on Tuesday stormed the area at about 7.00am in the company of armed police officers, sealing off several buildings.
Chinenye Nolly, whose pharmacy store was sealed, told Newsbreak.ng that neither the police officers nor the agency offered any explanation as to why her store was being sealed off.
“Early this morning, policemen came here, sealed the premises, and they told us to get out of their shops”, Chinenye said.
“I have a major problem with what (the) Lagos state government is doing. They did not give me any notice before sealing off my shop. I’m a tax-paying citizen of the state. If they have problems with my landlord, they should fix it. If they want us to go back to our home states, they should tell us.”
Another affected person, Chidiebere Odinaka, said the state government did not think about the consequence their action on the people who do business in the places that are being sealed off.
He said, “My office was sealed off this morning. The building developer told me he had met with the government and everything is fine. Now they came this morning with this. That means I can’t do anything today here. They just do things without considering the effects on people.”
During the cause of investigation, our reporter gathered that the state government had served a notice to the landlords two months ago; informing them that the plots where their buildings were erected were assigned as a residential area.
However, Ade Ojerinde, a manager in one of the affected companies queried why the government decided to take action several years after structures had been built.
“This is questionable. If they are truthful to themselves that this area was meant to be a residential area, why is the government just waking up? Look at how much businesses would lose today. Who pays them back,” Ojerinde further queried.
Also, an accountant with one of the affected companies, Lighthouse Electronics, who identified himself only as Emeka, said government should care about the welfare of citizens who pay tax regularly and not vice versa.
“We came to work this morning with lots of expectations. No notice was issued to us, we even asked the police officers, they only said our landlord should come and see them. We pay our taxes regularly, so why should they seal off where we get money to pay our taxes from?” he stated.
Officials of LSBCA declined comments when Newsbreak.ng sought further explanation from them.