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Mende demolition: Lagos govt responds, says owners of structures may begin to pay for demolition

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The Lagos State Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, has hinted that illegal builders whose houses are demolished may soon be asked to pay for the demolition.


Wahab disclosed this on Tuesday while replying to a comment by Ola Kasali, who tweeted with the handle @Olakaslas on X (formerly Twitter) requesting that a user who called out the Lagos State Government for demolishing their buildings in Mende estate at Kosofe Local Government Area of the state recently should be made to pay for demolition and cleaning fees.

One Ilemona who uses the handle @I_am_Ilemona had posted a picture of a building development permit by the Lagos State Physical Planning and Development Authority with ref: KS07/DO/375/45/109 signed by the then District Officer, Kosofe District, Mrs PO Emuze to the Managing Director, Legrande Engineering Services Limited on July 29, 2008.

The letter read, “I am directed to inform you that your application for development permit has been granted approval under the provisions of the Lagos State Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law 2005. Physical Development Provisions.

“You are, however, advised to maintain the conditions given in the Development Permit and comply with the conditions stated by the Ministry of Environment.:

Ilemona then queried why the building permit signed 16 years ago was not enough to stop the demolition of the properties in the estate.

Replying, Wahab, in a lengthy tweet, wrote, Dear @I_Am_Ilemona, I have had to ignore a lot of individuals making ignorant positions about the Mende issue, but let me take a few minutes to educate you again.

“First, the tweet you mischievously attached this document to was my response to your attention-seeking tweet, just as this one about Ikota, where some other people also encroached on the canal’s right-of-way. This has since been removed, and construction of the drainage channel is currently ongoing.

“In your very shallow opinion on Mende, take your time to read item 3.0 of the document that you posted, stating, and I quote, ‘You are, however, advised to maintain the conditions given in the Development Permit and comply with the conditions stated by the Ministry of Environment.’ The question now is, were the conditions met? No! The condition was simple: to leave a certain metre away from the beacon.”

The commissioner said the developer sponsoring those protesting knew what he was doing.

“The Developer who is sponsoring many of you knew what he was doing. He went ahead, encroaching on the part for which he was not approved. If you build beyond the approved plan, you have violated the conditions of approval, and your approval becomes entirely invalid. As they say, ‘The wheel of justice may be slow, but one day, it will grind to a halt.’ ”

He, however, noted that the era of what he described as ‘anyhowness’ in the state id now over, adding, “We cannot be complaining about a problem and still complain about the solution.”

Pleased with his response, a user, Ola Kasali, who tweeted with the handle @Olakaslas, wrote, “The commissioner only gave him just one of his crimes, the second one is what I am giving you, and there is a 3rd and a 4th. In fact, this person owes the government demolition and cleaning fees.”

Wahab further replied, “At some point, we’ll get to that!.”

Recently, the Lagos State Government commenced demolition of some buildings at Arowojogbe in Mende estate.

The demolition sparked outrage from residents as video clips of the exercise appeared on social media.

Narrating the reason for the demolition, Wahab said the buildings were demolished to avert flooding of the entire mainland.

The commissioner added that the demolished structures were built on System 1 drainage right of way to the Odo Iya Alaro River.

● By The Punch

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