By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos
The Lagos State Government on Monday said it has succeeded in reducing the occurrences of building collapse across the State, revealing that a total of149 distressed buildings were indentified at different locations out of which 40 have so far been demolished in the last one year.
Speaking at the annual Ministerial Press Briefing to mark the third year anniversary of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration held at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr Rotimi Ogunleye said another 38 distressed buildings have equally been earmarked for removal in the next phase, while others would follow suit.
Ogunleye, who reiterated the commitment of the present administration to go all out against any form of illegal developments and contraventions, said in the last one year, removal was effected on structures illegally built on setbacks, drainage channels and incompatible uses which resulted in public complaint and disaffection.
“It gives me satisfaction to report that during the year under review, the State recorded a significant reduction in building collapse. This was achieved through collaboration with stakeholders as well as intensive Post-Construction Audit of buildings by the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA).
“In a systematic approach to curtail occurrences of building collapse, 149 distressed buildings were identified at different locations out of which 40 of such have been removed, while the next phase of 38 of the structurally defective structures have been earmarked for removal. Others would follow suit to safeguard lives and property,” Ogunleye said.
Giving details on how the distressed buildings were discovered, the Commissioner said the Ministry embarked on intensive audit through the Lagos State Material Testing Laboratory, and in the process, visited the 57 Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas of the State to inspect both on-going construction sites and completed buildings suspected to be distressed.
“Consequently, 1,842 sites were visited; 1,392 Test Advice Notices were served and information on buildings identified as distressed were forwarded to LASBCA,” Ogunleye said.
On compensation of owners of structures which were demolished for developmental projects, Ogunleye said it was indeed instructive that as part of the inclusive governance model of the present administration, both property owners with Certificate of Occupancy and other documents, as well as those without such but with prove of ownership, have been compensated and still being considered.
“The administration of Governor Ambode has been benevolent in dealing with owners and developers whose structures were affected by the construction of roads and other forms of infrastructural development.
“There have been instances where the government even approved compensation for people whose only proof of ownership were pictures taken in front of the structures because the Governor does not want to subject the people to inconveniences as a result of the removal of their structures for public projects,” Ogunleye said.
He said following detailed inventory, enumeration, evaluation exercises and analysis of submitted documents, work had reached advanced stage to compensate house owners whose structures were demolished for construction of Orile/Badagry road expansion, Agric-Ishawo Road in Ikorodu, Epe Road expansion project, Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road, Free Trade Zone Resettlement Land and Adiyan Waterworks Phase II, among others.
On other activities of the Ministry, Ogunleye said eight Master and Model City plans have so far been developed for Lekki, Badagry, Ikoyi-Victoria Island, Ikeja, Alimosho, Mainland Central, Apapa and Agege-Ifako, while additional four to be ready in second quarter of 2018 were being prepared for Epe, Ikorodu, Oshodi-Isolo and Revised Ikeja Model City Plan, as well as in Kosofe.
He said from April 2017 to March 14, 2018, a total of 2,023 planning permit applications were received with 1,237 approved and others at various stages of processing, while due to adoption of technology to fast-track the process through the Electronic Planning Permit (e-pp) Platform, applicants can now have their permits within ten days.
He said in order to clear backlog of applications and to encourage regularization of developments without permit, the State Government has also granted six months amnesty starting from March 1 to August 31, 2018, advising property owners to fully utilize the opportunity.
On the relocation of Okobaba Sawmill in Ebute-Metta to modern Sawmill at Timberville, Agbowa in Ikosi Ejirin LCDA, Ogunleye said the project was now ready for operational take-off save for provision of additional transformers and link road, adding that government was currently working with relevant stakeholders on modalities of movement of their equipment to the new site.
He added that the relocation of Mile 12 Market to Imota was taking longer than projected due to topography challenges and expansion of the scope of the project to accommodate other markets, assuring that it would however be completed by the second quarter of 2018.
On Katangowa ICT Park, Ogunleye said the project would commence with upgrading of roads to the site, adding that the project would remove the chaos currently associated with Computer Village, Ikeja.
“When ready, the project would be the biggest ICT Park in West Africa and will offer 4,000 shops, exhibition halls, hotel, industrial park, warehouses, keeklamps, helipad, malls, banking halls, parking lots, conference centre, food courts, security and power, among others,” he said.