Lagos State Governor Acts Swiftly To Reclaim Falomo Shopping Complex, Controversially Concessioned By His Predecessor, And Warns Contractors Of Delay On Completion Of Road Projects
In what may seem as a gradual review of questionable concessions made by his predecessor, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, yesterday terminated one of such concessions entered into by Babatunde Fashola’s administration, through the Lagos State Development and Property Corporation (LSDPC), and Afriland Properties for the redevelopment of the Falomo Shopping Centre at Ikoyi. The Shopping Complex redevelopment concession was worth N50m only.
As he terminated the concession agreement, the governor also read the riot act to contractors over the slow pace of work on the reconstruction of some of the road projects in the state, saying he would not accept anything that would make life difficult for residents of the state.
A statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Habib Aruna, quoted the Governor as saying that the decision was carried out based on a recent discovery that the concession was grossly detrimental to the interests of the people of the state. According to him, only N50million was paid by the concessionaire, Afriland Properties, for a 50-year lease of the property belonging to the government.
Ambode said the state government, as custodian of the interests of Lagos people, was committed to the restructuring of the LSDPC to ensure it begins to provide positive capital returns to the State Government for the ultimate benefit of the people.
It would be recalled that Ambode had, two months ago, relieved Managing Director of the LSDPC, Mr. Biodun Oki of his appointment, just as he appointed Mr. Jacob Agosu as Acting CEO of the Corporation, in a bid, according to the statement, to stem the tide of negative capital returns of the corporation.
Contract for redevelopment of the shopping complex was awarded during the tenure of former governor of Lagos State, Fashola. Afriland, a subsidiary of Heirs Holdings got the contract to develop the shopping mall into an office complex and residential apartments that will serve needs of residents of Lagos state and beyond.
Speaking during a tour of the project site, Managing Director of the LSDPC, Mr. Biodun Oki said the Falomo Shopping Mall’s redevelopment is long overdue. “Our partnership with Heirs Holdings is in line with the state government’s urban redevelopment project and it bodes well for the state, the country and for the citizens.
Once this project is completed, we can all look forward to a new and improved landscape that will stimulate business activity in this area and beyond. Involving the private sector in our redevelopment agenda is the model for all future projects”, he said.
Speaking earlier on the project, Chairman, Heirs Holdings, Mr. Tony Elumelu, said his firm is taking the contract to construct the mall as part of commitment to drive development and move Nigeria forward through business activities.
Afriland Properties is reputed for bringing innovation to the real estate sector in Nigeria and other African countries by drawing on experience, new competencies, and technology to achieve continuous improvement in service delivery to its clientele.
The Falomo Shopping Mall redevelopment project is a private/public sector agreement between Afriland and the Lagos State Development Property Corporation (LSDPC).
Meanwhile, speaking during a project inspection tour in Bariga, Alimosho, Oshodi areas of the state, Ambode reiterated his determination, and commitment, to making life comfortable for the people. During his inspection of the road project in Somolu/Bariga, he said the reconstruction of the road is so important to his administration because of its strategic location and link to other areas in the metropolis.
He however mandated the contractor to commence work immediately and to deliver the work before Christmas, adding that while the work is going on the contractors should provide palliative measures for the residents so that they can live their normal lives. “We are not pleased with the slow pace of work in this area.
I want to tell the contractors that we would not accept anything that will make life difficult for the residents. This project must be delivered by before Christmas and ensure you create palliative measure while the work is going on”, Ambode said.
At Alimosho, the Governor, who described Alimosho as the most populous Local Government in Lagos, expressed empathy with the people on the untold hardship being experienced daily by commuters and promised to ensure completion of ongoing works on the road within the next three months.
“In the course of my campaign, I came to this neighbourhood three times asking you to vote for me, I am back here to let you know that this road that is so important to the economy of this area, we would complete it within the next three months” he said.
Speaking further, Ambode appealed to residents for their patience and perseverance, while assuring them that the deplorable condition of the road would soon be a thing of the past. “I want to appeal to all our people living here. The contractor is going to work day and night and also create palliative for you to be able to use the road while he is working.
Please cooperate with them to carry out their work, it’s for our own general good”, he said. At Oshodi, Ambode, ordered immediate reconstruction of Brown Street, just as he advised traders to immediately vacate the right of way to ease free flow of vehicular movement in the area.
The Governor, who walked through the stretch of Brown Street, Oshodi, explained that the reconstruction of the road is important because of its location at the heart and economy in the local government.
“Nobody should trade on this road henceforth and stop spreading your market on the road. I have seen what you experience on daily basis, that is why I took it upon myself to walk through Brown Street and I can assure you that work would commence within the next 7 days”, Ambode said.