By NBF News

The Oyo State Government yesterday explained reasons it is rehabilitating Agbowo Shopping Complex. It stated that the decadence in the infrastructure of the expansive Agbowo Shopping Complex in Ibadan, coupled with the abuse of some dilapidated structures within the complex, which were being used for illicit sexual exercise by some teenagers necessitated its rehabilitation. The complex was built by the late Chief Bola Ige government in 1983.

The explanation was contained in a release signed by the Special Adviser on Media to governor, Festus Adedayo.

According to the release, when the current government took over the administration of the state, it set up a committee headed by the Commissioner for Lands and Housing, Mr. Ajiboye Omodewu, which returned a damning verdict on the state of infrastructure in the complex.

'In line with the transformation and reformation agenda of the present government, we decided that the current state of that foremost shopping complex is unacceptable to us. The infrastructure has collapsed completely. The entire property has not been renovated since 1984. The centralised air-conditioning system is moribund. Owners of shops make use of individual generators, with its hazardous implications. The toilets are bad and stinking,' the release said.

The government said further that when it came on board, it asked the management of the State Housing Corporation to furnish it with a proposal for the renovation of the complex, which it said amounted to N209 million.

The statement said the bill was not agreeable to government as the yearly revenue from the shopping complex was just slightly above N20 million, necessitating it to seek private investors who would develop the shopping complex, which also has a high-rise building, into a befitting complex that would not only be a revenue-earner but which would confirm its rating as a monument of reckoning in the state.

According to the statement, one of the private concerns, which the state government was speaking with intended to develop the complex's high-rise building into a luxury apartment, renovate the shops to be in tune with modern trend, provide boreholes and activate the fire-fighting office within the complex.

The government said the renovation gave rise to its giving the tenants in the shop a six-month quit notice, which it said took effect from March 2 and which would expire in December.

'In doing this, government, being a humane administration, promised, in a letter written to individual tenants at the complex, that upon the completion of the renovation, existing tenants would be given priority in recruitment of tenants. Further to this, government has also called for a stakeholders meeting to allay fears of the shop owners, as a demonstration of its sincerity and humane disposition,' the statement said.