Residents protest as Lagos shuts down 2, 000 buildings

•Demolition of distressed structures begins

Some residents of Lagos yesterday kicked against the plan by the state government to commence the demolition of distressed structures in the state, following the alleged closure of over 2, 000 buildings found to be violating town planning laws.

Their displeasure was registered even as the General Manager of the Lagos State Building Control Agency, LASBCA, Abimbola Animashaun, said the agency had commenced the demolition of identified distressed buildings in the state.

She decried the rate at which some residents remove the seal on such buildings after they were identified as distressed, saying that government would soon demolish such structures whether their seals had been removed or not.

The affected residents accused officials of the agency of bias in the closure of the 2, 000 houses, saying that some distressed buildings were left untouched while those buildings, whose owners have no influence were shut down.

But LASBCA’s general manager, who spoke after the agency demolished one of the distressed buildings on 27, Willoughby Street, Ebute Metta, said only 1, 800 buildings were shut down for offences ranging from defected structural integrity of the buildings and inability to present Certificates of Occupancy, C of O.

This, according to her, necessitated the closure of the buildings even as she said that many of the affected property owners were yet to come forward in respect of their property.

She said: “The state government would no longer tolerate people violating its town planning laws. Such structures would be demolished before they killed people; we are ready to prosecute defaulters.

“Builders must follow the laws and comply with the urban and regional planning laws. They should come to us for advice as we don’t want them to jeopardise the lives of the people that will live in such houses,” she added.

On the demolition of distressed buildings in the state, Animashaun said 30 buildings had been marked for demolition in Ebute Metta, saying that five of the buildings would be demolished in the next few days, while the remaining would be demolished after the result of their integrity tests has been released.

“We have marked these buildings since July 2013. The buildings that are being demolished now were marked since July and people continued to live in them. It is only when they see us today that they started to move their personal belongings, despite the fact that we have been here several times to warn them.

“We have marked 30 buildings for demolition and five will be demolished by Wednesday. Others are awaiting integrity test. These buildings are on Simpson Street, Borno Way and the rest of them. We expect people whose houses are marked for demolition to leave immediately,” she stated.

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