18 March 2019

Nigeria: Rebuild Marked Houses or Risk Forfeiture, Lagos Tells Owners

Lagos State Government on Monday told owners of structures marked for demolition to rebuild them or risk forfeiture of their houses.

The state physical planning and urban development commissioner Prince Rotimi Ogunleye gave the order while commiserating with families of victims of the collapsed building at Ita Faji Street on Lagos Island.

Eight bodies were pulled out from the collapsed three-storey building in Lagos Island. The structure, which contained a primary school, at 63 Massey Street, Itafaaji collapsed around 10:00 a.m.

Thirty-seven persons, mostly pupils, were rescued, according to figures released by Ibrahim Farinloye, the spokesman of the National Emergency Management Agency (Southwest). The school occupied the first and second floors, while the ground floor and third storey were residential.

Ogunleye pointed out that the government had identified 149 distressed and defective buildings in different parts of the state.

He said 40 of the defective buildings will be demolished in the first phase while 38 others were slated for the second phase prior to the recent collapse.

Ogunleye called for the cooperation of members of the public in reporting locations of distressed structures to the State authorities.

The commissioner lamented that "In some instances where the owners and occupiers have been duly served with statutory notices and evacuated, people secretly return to re-occupy the buildings despite the sealing of the structures by the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA)".

The Commissioner said LASBCA would step up the ongoing removal of the affected buildings until it covers all parts of the State, warning that Section 74 of the Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law on forfeiture would be invoked against any owner or developer whose negligence leads to building collapse.

He said the state government will soon unveil a programme to address challenges on the defective and illegal erection of buildings as well as schools without government approval.

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