Bulldozer roars … 350 structures crumble
Lagos demolishes property under high-tension cables
With the demolition of over 350 shops and structures yesterday, the Lagos State government gave a bite to its eviction notice earlier issued to owners and occupants of structures under high-tension powerlines across the state.
This followed the expiration of ultimatum issued to affected property owners to vacate. The removal began with the demolition of illegal rows of shops situated directly under high-tension power lines at Oba Wahab Ayinde Balogun Modern Market, Isheri-Olofin, outskirts of Lagos in Egbe-Idimu Local Council Development Area (LCDA) yesterday morning.
The demolition was supervised by the state Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) and the State Environmental and Special Offences Unit, (Task Force).
The Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Anifowoshe Abiola, said: “This is just another effort to maintain a sustainable, organised, liveable and friendly environment. The state government has established zero tolerance for all structures and properties built under high tension cables.
“Having residential buildings or conducting business under high tension power lines constitutes a danger to lives and properties that could have fatal consequences.”
Acting General Manager of LASBCA, Oladotun Lasoju, said the Lagos State Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law 2010, not only prohibited building under the centre-line of over-head electricity wires, but also in very clear terms specified the distance to be observed between a property and a public utility such as high tension cables.
“Having served the statutory contravention notices on the offending structures and when owners of such structures failed to remove them within the statutory notice period, we are compelled to remove such structure at a cost to be borne by the owners,” he said.
The chairman of the Lagos State Task Force, SP Olayinka Egbeyemi, said 350 structures were demolished, warning residents and traders to desist from living and trading under high tension, adding that those affected were served adequate statutory notices before the demolition exercise and were also allowed to remove their goods and properties.
However, the Assistant General Secretary of Oba Wahab Ayinde Balogun Modern Market, Alfa Yisa Mudashiru, expressed displeasure over the demolition,saying they have been selling in the market for over 35 years. He noted that they jointly developed the markets in conjunction with officials of Egbe-Idimu LCDA.
Mudashiru confirmed that they were served adequate notices and that both the ‘Baba Oloja,’ Mr. Salami Alao, and ‘Iya Oloja,’ Alhaja Irat Adebayo, were lobbying with government officials to see if they could be given a stay of execution before yesterday’s demolition pending their final relocation.
Sources told The Guardian that the duo of one Samson Wahab (a.k.a Oba) and Idris (a.k.a Oluomo) had before the relocation order, claimed ownership of the land and gave it to a developer, Jasiours Enterprises, to redevelop, due to their close relationship with the traditional ruler, Oba Wahab Ayinde Balogun of Isheri-land.
A trader, Mrs. Taiwo Akande, alleged that both ‘Oba’ and ‘Oluomo’ collected millions of naira from both the developer and traders of the market, adding that each shop was outrightly sold for between N1.5 million to N3 million to both residents and traders depending on its size.