Lagos residents write Sanwu-Olu, over proposed demolition of houses

By Ben Okolor, Lagos

Residents and landlords of houses situated along some parts of Isheriosun/Bucknor/Jakande Oke-Afa extension areas in Ejigbo Local Council Development Area have appealed to the Lagos State Government to intervene in the proposed demolition of houses in the area The Trumpet gathered.

The concerned residents and property owners, in a joint statement, accused some officials of the Lagos State Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources of inconsistently marking their buildings in a bid to create a drainage route.

The statement read partly, “The area in question (Isheri, Jakande and Bucknor) is a valley plain which was clearly laid out in plots by the owners. We never experienced flooding until some individuals colluded with some members of the family to buy portions of it, thereby infringing on its right of way. Due to the blockade, flash flooding became the new order from 2012. This led to a diversion of the stream upwards. As work on the drain progressed, we suddenly noticed a second marking of the buildings on January 19 and as if that was not enough, a third marking was made on February 22, all pointing upwards on the plane.

“The questions now are: does water flow upwards if not powered by a force? Would it not end up as a wastage that failed to achieve its purpose? We call on Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and good spirited members of the public to come to our aid in whatever capacity and put a stop to the impending and unjustified calamity that is progressively reeling its ugly head.”

Some of the residents were quoted as; “The officials have not been fair in the marking of houses for demolition; they marked 40 houses including mine which was not sited close to the natural way whereas only seven houses should have been affected. They refused to mark a particular house blocking the way but marked ours. Why? They served us notice on April 1 and the date on it indicates March 28. This is unfair. We are appealing to the government to please intervene.”

In his response, The Director of Drainage Enforcement and Compliance, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Mahmood Adegbite, explained to our correspondent that the demolitions were inevitable because the houses were built along a water course.

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Adegbite said, “The ministry got to know about this in 2014 and there was a consensus that a particular route should be formed to curb flooding. From the map, it is clear that houses have been built over the natural stream and we have started constructing ridges of 30 metres but we had to reduce the required setback to give them some leeway.

“Our aim is not just to go there and destroy anything but to make sure that we have a water course and this demolition will give them a respite, so it needs to be done for a greater good. We will try to reduce the number of houses that will be affected, but the demolition is inevitable.

“We have given them notice late last year and early this year; they have six months’ notice. So we request that if they have any form of approval to submit, because the government will only deal with those with approval, but none of them have come up with any approval” Mr Adegbite noted.

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