By Lateef Adegbite
This is not the best of times for Landlords and tenants living in properyies in Ebute Metta and other parts of Lagos, the nation’s Commercial centre, earmarked for demotion by the state Building Control Agency, LASBCA.
Worried by the frequency of buildings collapse in the state, Oluyinka Olumide, the state Commissioner of Physical Planning and Urban Development at the instance of Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor was said to have given a matching order to LASCBA,to demolish the structures that had failed ‘’ the government structural integrity interest to protect lives and property.
An informed source told The Value News that the Leadership of the LASBCA, who do not usually go ahead with the state government order to demolish underlisted buildings were said to have served the property owners and occupants of all the necessary enforcement notices in accordance with the south western state Urban and Regional Development ( amendment), edit of 2019, that was said to have been signed into Law by the incumbent governor of the state, Sanwo-Olu, as part of efforts to address the problem of frequent collapse of buildings due to their distressed conditions.
It was reported that between 2019 and now, 45 houses in different part of the state had been earmarked out for demolition due ‘’to poor structural design, poor compliance with engineering drawings and specifications, use of substandard building material, inadequate supervision of construction work and poor quality control.
Other identified reasons for the frequent collapse of buildings in the state include illegal diversion /alteration /addition to existing structure, poor construction and poor maintenance of the building. This is in addition to the lack of genuine geotechnical information about the underlying soil.
Until the Lagos state government embarked on the demotion of the distressed buildings in the popular Oyingbo area, Ebute Metta, Olumide, the state Commissioner of Physical Planning and Urban Development had said that the occupants of the affected buildings were served notices but refused to vacate them to dare the government.
The Commissioner noted that the state government could not have waited and allow the distressed buildings which had been shortlisted for demotion to collapse and kill people before taking action. Appealing to owners of buildings marked for demotions to take the bold initiative of pulling down the structures or wait to bear the cost and lose the land if the government should bring down the distressed building.
A resident of the Oyingbo area who spoke to Th Magazine on condition of anonymity disclosed that officials of the state ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development had beamed their searchlight on the distressed buildings in the entire Lagos Mainland, when a building which had partially collapsed at Oloto Street, Borno Way , Ebute Metta, which was earmarked for demolition but the owner failed to pull it down until it finally collapsed.
Olumide, the state Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development may have sent a signal to property owners and their occupants at Oyingbo, particular, that all identified distressed buildings in the area by LASBCA, would be pull down.
Many believe that if the Oyingbo building occupants had complied with the LASBCA directive to vacate the premises to mitigate the potential danger, the agency would have adopted option B, by putting pressure on the property owner to pull it down without waiting for the government agency to do it.
The agency may have started with the manual removal of a non-conforming building situated at Igbehin aAdun street, Makoko, Yaba last May. The property developer was said to have failed ‘’to adhere to the state building Codes and regulations as well as obtain the requisite permits before embarking on the building project.
Given the importance attached to the demolition of the distressed buildings in Lagos, President Bola Abhed home state, Gbolahan Oki, the LASBCA, General Manager was said to have supervised demolition of the Yaba property to ensure that the right thing was done.
The demolition of the Ebute Metta and Yaba buildings may have emboldened Oki, the LASCBA General Manager to declare that’’ it would continue ‘’to do its best by intensifying its monitoring activities in the state to identify more distressed buildings for demolition’’
The destruction of a two-storey building by the agency in the Lagos state Development Property Company, LSDPC, at Meiran Estate alleged to be unsuitable for human habitation clearly shows that the agency which has the backing of Olumide, the state Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development has taken the proactive measures by demolishing distressed buildings in the state , irrespective of the developer, as part of strategy to restore sanity and find a lasting solution to flooding in some parts of the state.
The demolition of a N55 million semi-detached duplex built on a drainage channel at the Lekki phase II and other buildings at Ikota area of the state by the state ministry of Environment, meaning that the state ministries of Physical Planning and Urban Development and Environment are involved in the demolition exercise which had brought pains and misery to many in the last two years of Sam-wo-Olu’s Administration.