Traders whose shops were affected by the recent demolition exercise for the dualisation of the Yebumout/Al-Hikmah University/Adeta Roundabout/Oloje road in Ilorin by the Kwara State Government have expressed mixed feelings over the exercise.
The state government had commenced the pulling down of the structures on the roadside last week following the expiration of its five-day ultimatum. The project is now ongoing.
The dualisation of the road, which is billed to be completed in 10 months, was awarded to JMK Construction at the cost of N1.6bn.
But the affected traders, who spoke to North Central Trust appealed to the government to expedite action on the project adding that the present situation has left them jobless.
One of the affected traders, Mr Makinde, said the government’s notice was short and appealed for the provision of another space to continue his trade.
“We understand the government’s decision and that it will better the lots of the state, but we have to survive before that time comes. That is why we are pleading with them to consider our plight in the light of the economic hardships across the country now”, he added.
Alhaji Abdulrahman, another trader and victim of the demolition, called on the government to assist them financially to ease their relocation and erection of new structures.
“Some of us have invested heavily in our business here before the demolition, which is going to be a setback to our economic progress. There are some who even took loans to establish what had been destroyed. But while we are not against the project, we are pleading for assistance to ease our relocation as things are very expensive now”, he noted.
On her part, Alhaja Suweba, a septuagenarian, said the demolition inflicted great pain on the traders but pleaded with the governor to expedite action on the project for them to be able to return to their businesses.
Other traders and residents who also spoke on the issue described the move as a good one but appealed for compensation to those whose shops and livelihood would be affected.
But the government has ruled out the payment of compensation for the affected traders adding that most of them who got approval to erect shops there have been told that there will be no compensation if the government decides to construct the road.
The Commissioner for Works and Transport, Rotimi Iliasu said: “Those that got approval for embankment have been told that there will not be any compensation during any development by government. So they already know and asking for such now amount reneging on our agreement”, he added.