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Why action on distressed buildings is slow, by Lagos official

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Governor Ambode. Photo: Twitter/AkinwunmiAmbode

Dreams by residents in Lagos State for safe and sustainable buildings may be hanging on the air due to inertia by relevant authority in addressing cases of marked distressed and abandoned building across the state.

The Guardian investigations revealed that many of the buildings marked as distressed in location like; Berkley Street, Lagos Island and some other areas are still being occupied by people. This, experts say portend danger for the built environment.

The government had recently disclosed that it has identified 149 distressed buildings across the State in the last one year, out of which 40 have been demolished.

Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development; Prince Rotimi Ogunleye who disclosed this at a ministerial press briefing held in Ikeja affirmed that in the next phase, 38 other defective structures has been earmarked for demolition, as government would not tolerate cases of collapsed buildings in any part of the State.

He said, “In a systematic approach to curtail occurrences of building collapse, 149 distressed building were identified at different locations of which 40 of such have been removed while the next phase of 38 structurally defective structures have been earmarked for removal.

Others would follow suite to safeguard lives and property,” he said.

Findings revealed that in 2016, about 40 abandoned and distressed buildings including some notable high-rise structures like the LASACO house structure in Tinubu street, Lagos Island, Savannah bank building and others were identified and published in a national daily but as at the time of filing this report, relevant authorities in the state’s building control agency could not ascertain if actions have been taken on the identified buildings.

Efforts to get reaction from the state ministry of physical planning and urban development didn’t yield result, as the present administration seems to lack information on the matter because it’s relatively new in office.

But according to an inside source, demolition process on identified buildings has been slow so far, due to the cumbersome nature of the exercise as compensations and rehousing processes for the occupants must be sorted out

The Public relations officer, Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), Mrs. Titi Ajirotutu told The Guardian that some of the buildings were demolished by the agency and property owners pulled down others themselves.

In some cases, some of the buildings passed the structural test and could still stand renovation, she said the agency ordered owners to renovate them.

“Some of the buildings, LASBCA has demolished and in other cases, owners of the marked buildings did the demolition by themselves.

Others that have passed the stability test and could still be renovated, we have asked the owners to carry out the renovation”, she explained.


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