The Lagos government says it will demolish 17 “distressed” buildings in Alaba international market in Ojo LGA of the state.
Gbolahan Oki, general manager of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), announced the planned demolition during an assessment visit to the market on Friday.
This is contained in a statement by the agency’s spokesperson, Adetayo Akitoye- Asagba.
Mr Oki said the affected buildings had been marked for demolition many times since 2016 but the occupants disregarded the notices.
He said that his visit was to issue final warnings and vacation notices to occupants of the buildings marked for demolition.
The agency said the physically distressed building had marked inscription on different parts and vacation notices as far back as 2016, 2020, 2022 “and several others issued to this year, 2023.”
“Oki who decried the rate of harassment meted to officials of the agency at different times in the past, said that seven years notification was enough for the occupants of the buildings marked for demolition to have vacated the structures and comply with the notices issued by LASBCA and other government agencies,” the statement reads.
“He added that rather than following due process in pulling down the structures and replacing the buildings with new ones, the occupants of the buildings had continued to occupy the buildings to their detriment.”
“These buildings marked within this ALABA International Market would have been included in the list of 349 distressed buildings earlier published in different national newspapers this year but because the occupants were always harassing our officers, it was impossible to capture the details of the structures and include them in the publication.
“What we have done now is a joint exercise carried out by both the Lagos Task Force officers and the demolition gang of Lagos State Building Control Agency. The buildings would be demolished.”
Mr Oki said that the government will continue to place a premium on the lives of residents of the state regardless of their locations, stressing that the life of a Lagosian is of greater value and cannot be traded for financial gains or profits.
He added that the demolition of the distressed buildings within the Alaba International Market has become very crucial and timely considering the danger which the buildings pose to other adjoining structures and the lives of business men and women within the market.
Mr Oki said: “We know that this area is a commercial center and one of the busiest markets in Lagos State but despite this, we cannot fold our arms and allow irregularities to continue to thrive in the market where lives of innocent persons would be put at risk because of the failure of a few set of individuals who have refused to do the needful.”
The agency’s boss also appealed to Lagosians to always inform government about distressed buildings and infractions noticed within their neighborhoods by bringing such infractions to the attention of relevant government agencies and desist from patronizing touts and impostors for processing of building approvals.
Lagos has recorded many building collapses leading to loss of lives in recent times. However, despite government promises to identify violators for prosecution, none has been prosecuted so far.