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Lagos resumes demolition of buildings on drainage

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The Lagos State Government through the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources on Monday began the demolition of all contravening structures under the system 1 drainage channel midstream (Odo Iya Alaro) Ojota and Ogudu.

The ministry’s Director of Public Affairs, Kunle Adeshina, in a statement on Monday, said the demolition came after the expiration of the notice given to the property owners to remove the contravening structures.

In October and November 2023, several buildings were demolished in Lekki, Ikota, the International Trade Fair, Agungi, and some parts of the state.

The state government said the buildings were demolished because they were illegally erected.

Adeshina added that the ministry had a stakeholder meeting with the property owners on several occasions where none of the property owners could provide valid titles for the properties sited on the drainage channel.

He added, “The removal exercise which followed the expiration of several served contravention notices on the property owners was carried out by operatives of the Drainage Enforcement and Compliance with security back up from the Task Force on Special Offences and other agencies.

“The ministry had also explored consultative stakeholders meetings that involved members of the Legislative Assembly, one of which was held on December 21, 2023, to find possible solutions.

“At one of such meetings convened by HC MOE&WR, Tokunbo Wahab, with House of Assembly member representing. Kosofe 1, Hon Sanni Okanlawon in attendance, none of the property owners could provide evidence of titles to the structures built on the drainage right of way.”

Adeshina, while quoting the Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, noted that despite the numerous contravention notices served on the property owners, some of them had gone ahead with their construction.

“While speaking at that meeting, Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab reiterated that in the absence of valid titles, all the structures on the System 1 Right of Way will have to go.

“The State government also discovered that while contravention notices had been served, some of the property owners continued with the construction in an open display of impunity.”

While advising property owners whose buildings were yet to be demolished, Adesina stressed that the demolition would address “the issue of perennial flooding which has led to avoidable damage to property and caused fatalities in some instances.”

Meanwhile, some users on X (formerly Twitter) have reacted to the demolition of buildings.

The X users who were reacting to a video of the demolition shared by the state’s Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, on his page on Monday, urged the government to consider alternative means of addressing the issue rather than demolition.

An X user, Stephen Kosh, wrote “Its a shame though. But I still believe we can get river channel engineers to devise innovative ways of saving some of these structures. This is damaging to both personal and community wealth. How about using underground drainages?”

Also, @imarahoo noted, “@tokunbo_wahab After you demolish all these properties that have helped the environment, also aid in reducing mosquitoes, what is your plan? Are you abandoning those places to ruins?

“You have done more demolition since you took office. I am yet to see one innovative proposition for the environment upliftment from you. It appears like a personality overwhelmed by a destructive mindset.”

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