Residents of Olowolaju Street in Ekoro, Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State, have accused the state Ministry of Environment of demolishing their buildings without prior notice in order to make way for the construction of a canal.
However, the spokesman for the ministry, Adekunle Adeshina, said a demolition notice was served on the affected residents of the community.
The owner of one of the affected properties, Oloruntuyi Odeniyi, told PUNCH Metro that he was never informed of the decision to pull down his shops, adding that goods in the shops were also destroyed during the demolition.
He said, “They demolished my structures with all my belongings in them without giving any notice. I want the government to compensate or relocate me to another place to alleviate my suffering.
“I just renovated the structures this year. I waited for the government to finish the project in the community before I attempted any construction to avoid demolition. I support my family with rents from these shops.”
A distressed resident, Tunbosun Odukoya, said he was served a notice and given only 24 hours to vacate the building, adding that his house was nowhere near the canal, but it was demolished.
He stated, “I just moved into the demolished building last September. It is painful. My building was never on the canal or road. Before now, the distance of my fence to the canal was 45 feet. I was supposed to leave 30 feet but I left 45 feet to give room for any future construction.
“I saw a small note on May 20 ordering me to vacate my building within 24 hours. Before then, my fence was marked for a setback of 3.05 metres. They demolished my house beyond 3.05 metres. Where do I go? I have no place to go now. They didn’t allow me to take anything from my house.”
When contacted, Adeshina said no one could talk authoritatively about the position of any building in Lagos unless they had the master plan, adding that stakeholders in the community were duly notified of the demolition.
He stated, “We held a stakeholders’ meeting in October last year after which they were given six months’ notice, followed by a two-week notice. The area is notorious for flooding.
“We even reviewed the alignment to save some of the affected houses. Contractors were paid and work had to begin there. All those buildings were in the setback area.
“The owners have no building approvals. People want development but not the pain that comes with it. They cannot determine for the government where they will erect their buildings.. There is a master plan to follow. We have to enlarge the tributaries to avoid future incidence of flooding.”
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Disclaimer: The Post Community tackles Lagos ministry over building demolition was first Published by Olamide Francis on punchng.com.