Former Anambra State Governor Peter Obi Reacts to Alaba Market Demolition by Lagos Government


Peter Obi
Peter Obi 

Former Anambra State Governor Peter Obi has reacted to the recent demolition of buildings at the Alaba International Market by the Lagos State Government. While acknowledging that some of the demolitions might be excusable, Obi expressed concerns about the impact on innocent citizens who were either ill-informed or misguided. 

In a statement issued via his verified Twitter handle, Obi advised that corrective measures to planning or zoning violations need not be punitive or unduly insensitive. He emphasized that the primary duty of any government is to care for and protect its citizens. Instead, he called for compassion and humane correction in taking remedial action. 

Obi also suggested that the government consider compensating those who have lost properties and livelihoods in the demolitions. He noted that with Nigeria facing a 70 million housing deficit and vast unmet housing needs nationwide, some citizens resort to self-help by building structures that serve as homes, businesses, SMEs offices, and stores. 

The Lagos State Government had on June 16 begun the removal of what it described as distressed buildings in the Alaba International Market located in the Ojo Local Government Area of the state. The enforcement team of the Lagos State Building Control Agency and the Lagos State Task Force embarked on the joint exercise. The government insisted that the exercise was a measure to prevent disaster.

The demolition has generated controversy, with some citizens expressing concerns about the impact on innocent traders and business owners. Obi's comments add to the growing debate on the need for the government to balance enforcement of regulatory regimes with consideration for human feelings and necessary compassion.