Business News

Disquiet in Lagos Computer Village as govt., developer keep mum over contract termination

Traders at the popular Computer Village in Lagos are currently disturbed by the reports of the termination of the multibillion-naira Katangowa project, which was awarded to Bridgeways Limited some years ago by the Lagos State Government.

While the Katagowa project was to facilitate the relocation of the tech market from its current site in Ikeja to the Agbado/Oke-Odo area of the State, the government last week announced that the contract had been terminated as far back as two years ago.

However, the traders in the market, who are the key stakeholders in the project and who have been told repeatedly to prepare for relocation to the new site, said neither the government nor the developers have communicated the decision to them.

Their concerns also stem from the claims that some dealers had made upfront payments to the developers and there has not been any discussion on how the money will be refunded.

Speaking in an interview with Naijaonpoint on the development, the Chairman of the Computer Village Market Board, Chief Adebowale Soyebo, said:

The Chairman noted that some traders in the market have paid to the disengaged contractor and an official communication of the contract termination would pave the way for the retrieval of the money.  While Babatunde would not disclose how much has been paid to the developer by the traders, he said:

Another official of the market, who spoke with Naijaonpoint under the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak, said:

When Naijaonpoint reached out to the CEO of Bridgeways Global Project Ltd., Mr Jimmy Onyemenam to speak on the payments claims made by the market dealers, he said the company would rather approach the issue in a ‘more civil’ and would not want to make a media show of it.

For the Computer Village dealers, the issue of relocation should not even come up at all at this time because there is nothing on the ground to show that the government wants them to relocate. Meanwhile, the State Government has repeatedly voiced its readiness to move the market to the new site, saying the current location of the tech hub was not designed for that purpose.

Announcing the termination of the KaNOPowa project contract during an inspection of the vast land area earmarked for the relocation of Ikeja Computer Village in the urban regeneration program of the state government. The Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on e-GIS and Urban Development, Dr Olajide Babatunde, said the contract was terminated due to non-performance of the contractor.

The Governor’s adviser also acknowledged that some traders had paid to the developer, noting that the government would ensure that they are refunded. According to him, Bridgeway Global Project Limited would be made to refund all fees collected to the subscribers after the conduct of proper identification and verification by the State government to determine the real occupants and how much they paid.

The idea of a new site for the Computer Village was muted in the last year of Bola Tinubu’s administration as Governor of Lagos State. The project was carried on to the Babatunde Fashola’s regime when 32 companies were invited to bid for its execution.

Under Fashola, the process of appointing a developer took almost three years. The government bureaucracies continued until 2020 when the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration demolished the Katangowa market that was popular for used clothing and officially handed it over to Bridgeways as the appointed developers.

In 2021, Bridgeways carried out a groundbreaking ceremony at the site with a promise that the project would be completed in 24 months, that is, by 2023.

However, as of last week when the Governor’s Adviser inspected the site, the shops which will house the traders are still at foundation level with overgrown grasses covering most parts of the site.