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Why Lagos, FAAN demolished buildings in Ajao Estate

By Bertram Nwannekanma
01 May 2023   |   3:55 am
The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) have jointly removed 13 buildings in Ajao estate, Isolo, for lacking approvals and permits in contravention of the state building laws.

One of the demolished buildings at Ajao Estate

The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) have jointly removed 13 buildings in Ajao estate, Isolo, for lacking approvals and permits in contravention of the state building laws.

Apart from approval issues, the buildings were said to constitute security issues to the Muritala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, and situated along a gas pipeline.

General manager of LASBCA, Gbolahan Owodunni Oki, an architect, said the authorities engaged owners of the buildings since 2016 and four notices served on them before commencement of the removal.

He blamed incessant collapse of buildings on attitudinal issues among residents, who have either refused to comply with relevant laws or report contravenor to the appropriate authorities for immediate sanctions.

Oki said if the buildings are not removed because of sentiments or aesthetic beauties and cost, the consequences will be dire, as more than 200 buildings may be consumed in the event of gas explosions or collapse.

He advised Lagosians to always involve the Agency before commencement of construction as none of the buildings certified by LASBCA had witnessed failures.

Also, the General Manager, Business Development, FAAN, Mr. Hycienth Ugwu, said the buildings were erected on the airport lands acquired by the Federal Government in 1944, 1972 and 1975 for the expansion of the international airport.

He stressed the continued existence of the buildings in the area constitute a security risk to the airport as terrorists can shoot down an aircraft about to take off from the runway.

Ugwu said according to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards, no building is allowed to be erected close to the perimeter fences of the airport, while there is also a limit to the height of buildings within the airport.

According to him, all these measures have been violated as some of the owners of the affected buildings use the perimeter fence of the airport as their own fence, breaking some of the fences to access the airspace, resulting in thefts of materials through the axis.

He stressed that this action could lead to the closure of the airport by the ICAO, which will result in loss of substantial revenue to the Federal Government, Lagos State government and FAAN.

He said: “ We want to thank LASBCA for partnering with us to check these illegalities. We have been in this since 2015, when encroachment was noticed in Ajao estate and Shasta axis of the airport. After some discussions with them, some appealled to the President for regularisation. About 200 buildings were regularised, but others, which constitute safety, security and operational challenges could not be regularised. They are illegal without any form of title and document on the land they are built on. We tried to stop them, but they continue building till now that LASBCA is helping us with the demolition.”