Lagos Traders Fight for Compensation After Market Razed

LAGOS, Nigeria – Nearly a year after the demolition of the Police Officers’ Wives Association (POWA) Shopping Complex in Lagos, displaced traders are still seeking compensation and answers. The complex was bulldozed in May 2023 by the Nigeria Police Force, sparking outrage from the traders who claim they were given little to no warning.

According to a report by Punch Metro in January 2024, the demolition was allegedly to make way for a “contemporary retail complex” on the same property. However, the affected traders say they’ve received no official explanation or relocation plan.

The traders’ association reports that two members died following the demolition, with others suffering health issues due to the stress and loss of their businesses. Many lamented being treated “like criminals” during a late-night operation in December 2023, with over 200 police officers surrounding the market before bulldozers moved in.

The traders claim they were only given an unofficial 24-hour notice before the demolition, leaving them with nowhere to go and their livelihoods destroyed. They are now calling for compensation for their losses and a chance to rebuild their businesses.

With no solution forthcoming from the authorities, the traders may be forced to take legal action. This could put further strain on the relationship between the police and the Lagos business community.

The situation raises questions about the rights of informal traders in Lagos and the process for development projects that displace residents or business owners. The Punch Metro report mentions the traders’ association accusing the police of a lack of transparency throughout the ordeal.

As the displaced traders continue their fight for justice, it remains to be seen if the Lagos government or the Nigeria Police Force will offer them any kind of compensation or relocation assistance. The situation highlights the challenges faced by informal businesses in Nigeria’s bustling commercial capital.


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