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Lagos begins revaluation of Island CBD urban renewal scheme

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There is a silver lining regarding efforts at regenerating Lagos Island Central Business District (CBD) as the authorities have begun revaluation of the scheme.

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Before now, urban renewal and regeneration of Adeniji-Adele estate in Lagos Island and other communities by government through Lagos Urban Renewal Agency (LASURA), domiciled in the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development has not yielded expected result.

Experts blamed the failure on government ‘s inability to secure private sector participation for the project, despite government paying the sum of N6.6 million as rent for the Year 2017/2018, to the 12 families displaced at Adeniji Adele Phase 1 Housing Estate.

Recently, the government announced that it would resurrect the urban regeneration of identified communities on Lagos Island. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, assured of his administration’s determination to ensure a complete renewal of the community, emphasising on building of drainage channels, road upgrade and construction to ease vehicular movements of people and goods.

Sanwo-Olu, who restated this when he paid a visit to one of the urban regeneration centres, said Lagos truly needs regeneration especially on the Island.

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Also, stakeholders said there is need to engage the government to resurrect previous plans to tackle the problems in the informal settlement and formal settlement at Adeniji Adele to improve the housing infrastructure and confront building collapse frontally.

The state’s Commissioner of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Idris Salako, said the move is quite similar to the Land Pooling Urban Renewal Strategy used as pilot in Isale Gangan by LASURA.

According to him, the target then was not only the old buildings but properties on very small land spaces which made necessary facilities impossible, such as for parking.

Families/owners of such lands, he said, were approached to combine the land for more purposeful housing designs.

On the Adeniji Adele housing regeneration scheme, Dr. Salako said the project is now at re-evaluation of process stage as the contractors have been requested to properly articulate their financial commitment and capacity for the entire project.

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He stressed that the initial financial presentation which was tied to the technical proposal was to be reviewed based on current situations.

The commissioner, however, said the land pooling effort is yet to yield the expected results because the project omitted an essential component, which is the upgrading of infrastructure around the site to complement the new standard.

According to him, the Adeniji Adele project was awarded but some conditions could not be fulfilled by both parties of Government and Investor.

“The housing project was successfully executed but the dilapidated infrastructure around it negated the success of the housing project. Hence, the government was not able to sell all the units and as such huge capital was tied up on the project.

“Another major challenge is the sole dependency on budgetary allocation from government, which made it to run for about 10years to execute”, he added.

But the Commissioner of Housing, Moruf Akinderu-Fatai, said the new move is aimed at addressing the huge housing deficit in the State

He stated that it is an inclusive strategy through which owners of old homesteads partner with government in terms of releasing old properties to government for vertical developments of blocks of homes.

Evidently the housing schemes that will evolve and originate from the present administration, he said, have taken into full cognizance the realities of the present day challenges such as unbridled immigration, increased governmental responsibility in other areas of development as well as low earning power of the people grossly affected by homelessness.

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The commissioner stressed that the land on which the homes are will be viewed as equity for the family concerned while government will partner in building high-rise accommodation to serve as homes for more people.

According to him, this is a strategy that will also result in urban renewal and regeneration of old homesteads.

“While renewing the old rundown estates, the design of our new homes will be directed towards a more optimized usage of land which is very scarce in the state.

“Vertical buildings, which will house more people, will replace the lateral ones, drastically reducing the housing deficit.

“Our new homes will also be wired to access the advantages of ease and comfort afforded by technology. New estates will also show enhanced sustainability and livability with easy access to all social facilities like recreation, education, transportation and health care. All said and done, governmental policies in all sectors are being tailored towards a more integrated and fully incorporated synergy for the total benefit of the people.

“With this, location of housing schemes either in rural or urban part of the state will soon be inconsequential in making choice of homes, especially with multimodal means of transportation embarked upon by the State Government”, he added.

For the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Housing, Mr. Wasiu Akewusola, what is being done is in line with what LASURA is doing and both the ministry and the agency are synergizing to regenerate all of the estates and communities that already expired.

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