*As Stakeholders flag off relocation scheme of the new Lagos Katangowa ICT business Park
By Chris Onuoha
The N40 billion Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Business Park sited at Katangowa, Lagos – Abeokuta Expressway, is at its completion stage, as stakeholders comprising the Coalition of Association in Computer Village (CACOVI), the developers, (Bridgeways), Sterling Alternative Finance and Lagos State government at an event last Wednesday, launched the relocation campaign of the new Computer Village.
The project, occupying 15 hectares expanse of land located at the Agbado Oke-Odo CDA in Alimosho was initiated in 2006 by former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, inaugurated in 2019 by Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and will soon be completed, according to the developers.
Speaking at the event, Timi Famoroti, President, CACOVI, said that the inauguration was to create awareness on the reality of the relocation of the new ICT Business Park, adding that CACOVI members had agreed to move to a more conducive environment free of any intimidation, harassment and aggression.
“We deserve an international market such as the ICT Park which will give members the opportunity to own their shops, investment and to fly. This project happening now is not without challenges but as leaders we are determined to give our members a very conducive environment for business.’’
Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer, Bridgeways Global Project Limited, Jimmy Onyemenam, said that the relocation of Computer Village in Ikeja to the new site at Katangowa had been on for several years, and that there was need for the launch because since the construction started the associations at Computer village were not officially aware that works had started on the site.
“The main reason for the launch is to create awareness and further insight that it is affordable as the financier bank is ready to provide funding for the traders to own shops and to pay back within seven years,” Onyemenam said.
He however, noted that the Lagos ICT Business Park, Katangowa is a culmination of a journey of 13 years by the Lagos State Government to relocate the traders from the “Computer Village” to an ultra modern purpose built facility.
Onyemenam said that it will be the new home for the computer traders and businessmen currently at Ikeja, and that the new site will accommodate over 10,000 traders and shop owners.
He disclosed that the developer has entered into a 36 years concession agreement with the Lagos State Government to build and manage the facility and thereafter transfer ownership back to the Lagos State Government.
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“When completed, the ICT Business Park will provide approximately 8,000 retail outlets of different sizes including key-clamps stalls. The proposed ICT Park will also include enabling facilities for ICT development and growth to transform Lagos to an African technology hub such as IT Incubators and ICT training centre for knowledge creation and transfer (knowledge centers), Assemblage and warehouses for production and assembly of technology and allied products, loading and offloading bays, a 5,000-seater exhibition hall, administrative block and other offices, banking facilities, ample car parking space, fire service station, clinic among other facilities,” Onyemenam said.
According to Onyemenam, other benefits of the facility will be a purpose built environment for the traders of the current Computer Village at the most affordable prices currently.
“It will afford the traders an opportunity to become landlords. It will also provide a veritable platform for growth and expansion of the businesses, which will contribute significantly to National economic growth and development, based on the local economy of Lagos State with a GSP of $136 billion, he remarked.
He also noted that the ICT Park will contribute to reduction of the high unemployment rate in Nigeria while human resources development will be harnessed through the manufacturing and assemblage hub, leading to increase in industrial capacity utilisation and increase in human capital development with export generation and foreign exchange earnings.
Other members of the COCAVI, who spoke to the press, showed enthusiasm for the need of the traders to relocate from the present Ikeja center to Katangawe hub. Ifeanyi Akubue, President, Phone and Allied Products Dealers Association (PAPDA), said that members were ready to relocate but the financial muscle was the challenge. He stated that the Association’s leadership had sought the help of a financial institution for members to be able to have access to funds to finance their relocation.
“We are convinced that Lagos state is supporting the project as we are told that plans are underway to carry everyone along with an initial payment of as low as N1 million to secure a shop,” Akubue said.
Kehinde Apara, President, Association of Mobile Communications Device Technicians (AMCODET), said that the event was an assurance of the reality of the project after so many years of speculation.
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