The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has condemned the illegal activities of developers hiding under agencies of the Federal Government to build illegal structures at Banana Island in Ikoyi area of the State.
Sanwo-Olu blamed the collapse of the recent seven-storey building on First Avenue, Banana Island on ‘reckless’ operations of some developers hiding under the pretense that Federal Government agencies had issued approvals to hoodwink unsuspecting property owners.
He said his administration will no longer tolerate the activities of greedy developers who reclaim land from water illegally in connivance with some government agencies.
Sanwo-Olu spoke on Saturday during an on-the-spot assessment of the collapsed seven-storey building and other property in Banana Island.
The Governor who was accompanied by the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Engr. Tayo Bamigbose-Martins; Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso; Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Aramide Adeyoye; General Manager, Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), Arc. Gbolahan Oki and heads of departments and agencies, described building illegal infrastructure in Banana Island as “irresponsible and unacceptable.”
Sanwo-Olu, who expressed his displeasure against illegal structures in Banana Island ordered the immediate demolition and sealing of many completed and uncompleted buildings with various building infractions and those that were not granted appropriate approvals for construction by agencies of government.
The Governor’s order was carried out immediately by officials of the Lagos State Building Control Agency, who immediately marked the affected buildings for demolition.
Speaking to journalists at the site of the collapsed building, Governor Sanwo-Olu restated his administration’s commitment to the safety of the lives and properties of people in Lagos State.
He said: “A lot of investigation is going on right now and you can see that they are still clearing the rubbles at the site. We have given the order to stop work, not only at this site but also at all of the construction sites in Banana Island.
“You have all seen the extent of what I will call an unapproved extension into the water. You can see that the original line for Banana Island is even not where we are. It is way in front there and you can see that several extensions have been granted by both the Federal Ministry of Work and Housing and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA). These are the two federal agencies that have been culpable for those extensions.
“They have done these extensions even without our knowledge. We have the responsibility for building approvals and from what I have been told, all of the four buildings around the collapsed building never applied for approval.
“This is total recklessness of the developers and we will make a strong point out of this place and all around Banana Island. Any officers found culpable will also be sanctioned.”
Sanwo-Olu stressed further that “It is heartbreaking each time we have to go through this and it shows sometimes how irresponsible those developers and some of our citizens that just want to make quick money are. And of course, our officers who are also not alive to their responsibilities.
“We have had to change staff here and there so that we can bring forward robust and very strong monitoring officers. We will continue to do what we need to do to ensure that we keep the lives of our residents safe at all times.”
He disclosed that an external seven-man committee has been set up by Lagos State Government to independently ascertain the remote cause of the incident, saying that the committee will come up with a robust work plan that can be enforced going forward.
“We have set up an external seven-man committee. We are giving the people two weeks to independently ascertain what has gone wrong there. They should finish their work maybe towards the end of next week or thereafter.
“This will also further strengthen us to also come up with a robust work plan that we can enforce going forward,” he said.