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2009-07-01:Commercial Banks on the run

By Emeka Anokwuru

The stifling presence of commercial banks at the popular Suru Alaba building materials market, Coker, Lagos has thinned out following the sudden disappearance of those banks in the wake of the impending expansion of the road by the state government.
Before this time, every healthy bank in Nigeria considered it top priority to open one or more branches around the market in order to grab some share from the daily proceeds made by building materials dealers and other traders.

But with the determination of the government to expand the highway from the Eric Moore axis in Surulere to Seme border in Badagry, those banks which presence added to the marketing mix at Suru Alaba have virtually disappeared.

Saturday Sun found that at the Alafia bus stop near Orile, where two banks, Wema and Bank PHB opened offices a few months ago, the former still offers full services while the later has moved.
At Coker area UBA, Zenith, First Bank and Oceanic had their offices in buildings situated conspicuously by the expressway so it was very difficult to miss them. While the first three are still around because of the distance of the offices to the highway, Oceanic Bank has moved out. A three-storey building which used to house the bank has been stripped bare, and a public notice of relocation hung in front of its former office gives its new address as Block 12 Agric. Market, Odun Ade.

Curiously two banks, Zenith and EcoBank still operate full services at their Odun Ade branches opposite the building materials market.
Construction giant, Julius Berger that grabbed the multi-billion naira job from the Lagos State government has begun preliminary surveying from the Orile axis.
A source close to the company confirmed that the reconstruction of the road will commence in September.
He said contrary to speculation that government may rescind its decision, four quit notices have been served on those who own buildings or occupy structures along the road either for residential purposes or for commercial reasons, to relocate. Saturday Sun also gathered

The source said although the demolition would dislocate hundreds of families as well as businesses, the expansion project would improve the general well-being of Lagosians when it is ready. He affirmed that the new road will open up Nigeria to the west coast and greatly drive inter- regional commerce in further to the aspirations of ECOWAS founding fathers.

Giving insight into what is expected, he disclosed that the highway will have five lanes on each side, with provision for pedestrian walkways, rail tracks for tram service, dedicated bus lanes for BRT and motorways for use by the general public.

The 58-kilometre road, when finally expanded, will wipe out traffic holdup on that axis and promote the rapid development of tourism in Badagry. It will also accelerate socio-cultural interaction between Lagos State and her west coast neighbours.

Source: The Sun

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