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Controversy trails demolition of structures in Lagos



Controversy has continued to trail the demolition of illegal structures in Lagos State.

There has been outcry by affected residents as the government undertakes what it called a move to restore sanity.

The Lagos State government had pointed out that the affected structures were being demolished because they contravened the state’s laws.

Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources in the state, Tokunbo Wahab, had said more properties would be pulled down for contravening the drainage law.

Transparency in the demolition of properties

Structures in areas like Lekki, Alaba Market, Ajao Estate, Abule Egba, Ladipo Market, among others have been pulled down.

Some affected residents in video clips online had accused the Lagos State government of not giving them enough time before pulling down the structures.

In a clip, an affected resident, who claimed to have paid N1.7 million for a property located in Mainland, Lagos State, said authorities only gave them two hours to move out of the property before demolition.

But, the state Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, said the government would not be selective in applying the law in the ongoing series of demolition of illegal structures at Lekki Phase II and environs.

Wahab assured that the state government was committed to ensuring that justice and fairness were served to all equally.

He also insisted that an ultimatum was issued to owners of structures who violated the state’s laws.

According to him, a seven-day contravention notice is issued to owners of buildings “lying within the seven metres drainage setback on Orchid Rd, Agungi, Ajiran, Conservation Road, Osapa, Oral Estate II, all along the Ikota River” due to drainage problems.

On the demolition in Alaba International Market, the Lagos State Building Control Agency, LASBCA, General Manager, Gbolahan Oki, said the affected buildings had been marked for demolition since 2016.

“The marked inscriptions from LASBCA seen on different parts of the buildings that were looking physically distressed had vacation notices as far back as 2016, 2020, 2022, and several others issued to this year, 2023,” Oki said.

The government has also challenged the claimants to come up with any document showing that their structures received requisite approvals before they embarked on construction.

But commenting on the development, the Special Counsel to Nnamdi Kanu, pro-Biafra agitator, Aloy Ejimakor, insisted that the Lagos State government is not transparent in its demolition exercise.

Ejimakor alleged that the demolition was unconstitutional and violated the Land Use Act.

Speaking with us, Ejimakor said: “Lagos State government is neither transparent nor even-handed in the demolition exercise. The demolition is also potentially unconstitutional because of its disparate impact on Igbo property owners.

“And it is a gross violation of the Land Use Act in each case that it affects those with valid title documents, especially statutory Certificates of Occupancy issued by the State government.”

There have also been claims that the demolition was targeted against the Igbo residing in Lagos.

Ejimakor stressed that the demolition was notoriously discriminatory and unjust against the Igbos.

He said: “The relentless demolition in Lagos is so notoriously discriminatory & unjust, such that it will surely trouble Lagos State with countless scorched-earth litigations.

“For now, it has done so much to add to the systemic injustices that make it very tough for Ndigbo to be Nigerians.”

Corroborating Ejimakor’s claim, a former Super Eagles player, Emmanuel Emenike, accused the Lagos State government of being against the Igbos.

Frowning at the demolition in the state, Emenike said: “The sadness is too much after getting approval from the same Lagos State Government. This is pure wickedness. Igbos are in trouble.”

Agitations for Igbos to relocate their businesses to Southeast

Meanwhile, apex Igbo group, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo has urged the Igbo to relocate their businesses to the Southeast.

Factional Secretary-General, Okechukwu Isiguzoro told us that: “Since there are no more lands in Lagos State, they should relocate their business headquarters to the Southeast.

“When you have your headquarters at home, and demolition hits your branch, it won’t affect your business much; it won’t destroy you.

“Ohanaeze Ndigbo encourages Igbos to seize this moment as an opportunity to reassess their investments and consider relocating them to the Eastern region.”

However, Ejimakor said the call for Igbos to relocate their businesses back to the Southeast is a double-edged sword.

He said the call was a plot by some irredentists to run Igbos out of Lagos and also validated the quest for Biafra.

“The clamour for Ndigbo to relocate their businesses to Southeast is a double-edged sword.

“On the one hand, it will fulfil the dark desires of the irredentists that desire to run Ndigbo out of Lagos or otherwise traduce them in Nigeria.

“On the other hand, it will be an affirmative signal to Ndigbo that they are not wanted in Nigeria, which further validates the quest for Biafra,” he said.

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