The Lagos State Government at the weekend shut down five bonded terminals located within residential areas in Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Government Area (LGA), and explained that the decision became imperative to end intractable gridlock undermining socio-economic activities in Apapa area of the state.
While it revealed plan to seal all bonded terminals located within residential areas in the state, the state government equally sealed five other buildings in the local council for allegedly contravening the state Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law, 2010.
Officials of the State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) carried out the operation at the weekend with the support of the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation and Special Offences Unit (Task Force).
The operation, which was led by LASBCA Secretary, Mr. Tayo Fakolujo, specifically affected Queena Bonded Terminal, Don Climax Bonded Terminal, Godday Cinema and several buildings and terminals.
Godday Cinema, which had existed for decades in Ajegunle, was sealed for alleged violation of the physical planning and development contravention, while buildings converted from residential to commercial purposes suffered the same fate.
The state Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, had on Thursday ordered that all illegal bonded terminals in Ajegunle, in Ajeromi Ifelodun LGA be shut for constituting nuisance and contributing to traffic congestion in Apapa Central Business District.
After the structures were shut, Fakolujo said the exercise was part of the efforts of the state "to ensure that building developments in the state followed the approved layouts of the areas and due process."
He said the state government in its quest to put the state on the pedestal of other smart cities in the world was making Lagos metropolis a well-planned and structured society, where buildings were constructed according to its building plan approval granted by its sister agency, Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPPA).
He said all bonded terminals operating within the residential areas would be sealed up, adding that the genesis of Apapa gridlock was as a result of indiscriminate citing of tank farms and bonded terminals in the areas without an approval from the state government.
He, however, said with the new monitoring and auditing of building exercise in the state, the state government would not hesitate to enforce its laws against any recalcitrant operator of a bonded terminal within the state.
He added that property owners, who converted residential buildings to commercial usage without any recourse to proper regularisation, and engineering appraisal of the building would equally face the wrath of the law.
He noted the original master plan of in Ajeromi Ifelodun LGA would be enforced accordingly to stem the tide of non-conformity with the state Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law, 2010 and unplanned development in the state.
He stated that instant mobile court "is on ground to prosecute any recalcitrant defaulters."
Speaking during the exercise, one of the residents of Dada Onijomo Street, Awodi-Ora in Ajegunle, Mrs. Taiwo Aina said since the location of bonded terminals in the area, the community had known no peace as a result of indiscriminate parking of trailers on the streets.
Another resident, Mr. Collins Chukwuemeka said the root cause of gridlock in the area was due to the indiscriminate location of bonded terminals, noting that the area had lost her glory as trailers and motorists had turned the area into dumping ground for containers.