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​​Lagos begins demolition of 57 distressed buildings

•Ikorodu residents protest against destruction of their homes
As part of efforts to stop building collapse, the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) yesterday began the demolition of 57 distressed structures across the state.
The LASBCA General Manager, Lekan Shodehinde said the demolition was the first phase of the exercise, which Governor Akinwunmi Ambode had approved.He explained that government had earlier notified the owners of the affected buildings, which had been declared distressed for a log period.
The GM stressed that government would not fold its arm and allow buildings to collapse indiscriminately across the metropolis.Officials of the LASBCA, escorted by armed policemen stormed the Island yesterday morning to begin the demolition of 34 affected buildings.
About 13 of such buildings were demolished yesterday in an exercise that would last for two weeks.Shodehinde added that the agency had identified 114 distressed buildings across the metropolis, adding that the others would be pulled down in the second phase of the exercise.He explained that once a distressed building had been demolished, the owner would be given 90 days to pay the demolition cost or forfeit the land to government.
According to him, the owner of a distress building would is usually given time to address the defect, including an integrity test on the building before demolition.Meanwhile, residents of Lagoon View Estate in Ikorodu yesterday protested against the demolition of their homes.
The residents, who marched to the governor’s office and the state House of Assembly, disclosed that the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development did the “illegal demolition.”
The protesters carried placards with various inscriptions: “Ministry of physical planning and urban development, a tool for land grabber,” “Ambode give us justice, save us from elite land grabber.”
They complained that the policy was being manipulated and selectively applied for personal gains at the expense of the poor.Their coordinator, Mr. Victor Armstrong disclosed that property worth billions of naira had been destroyed, even when there was no legal dispute over the land.
He said: “Not only have our homes been demolished, but we have also been intimidated, humiliated, barred and dispossessed of our lands by unknown armed persons who claimed to be acting on an order from the top. We have information that our land has been slated to build a five-star hotel.”Addressing the protesters, a director from the ministry of political department promised that the matter would be investigated.

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