Residents have started vacating the 34 structurally defective buildings on Lagos Island, which the government sealed off last week, most of them on Idumagbo Avenue. According to the State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, LASPPDA, the houses were sealed because they breached the state physical laws and regulations and might collapse.
Report says the recent flooding and building collapse in Lagos, which left thousands homeless, might have triggered the government to take this action.
Altogether, about 645 houses across the state had been investigated and 143 had been listed for demolition according to LASPPDA Commissioner, Mr. Olutoyin Ayinde. He said the owners had been persuaded to demolish the structures but they had refused to do so.
“Eight out of the 143 owners of the defective buildings marked for demolition had complied. It is always a real battle to convince them of the imminent danger associated with the distress buildings,” he said.
In order to enforce the compulsory vacation, officials of LASPPDA were on ground with armed policemen to ensure compliance.
Although they left the buildings, some landlords and tenants expressed sadness and complained about the short notice.
“We are not against the efforts of the government but the manner of approach,” said Basiru Oladaride, an angry landlord. “You said we should carry out test on the building only to come back and drive us out,” he added.
Another landlord, Olawale Adio, said that the N200,000 (about $1,300) fee for carrying out test on a building was outrageous and urged the government to reduce it.
“It should be reviewed downward to enable the people to comply,” he said.
A tenant, Khadijat Suleiman said she had nowhere to go. “You can see my belongings outside, where do you want me to start now?”
The Commissioner however, stated that the government would establish a new agency that will be called Building Control Authority to see to the problems of building defects.