The Lagos state building control agency (LABSCA) on Friday began the demolition of defective buildings on the Lagos Island.
M en of the agency’s task force pulled down a three storey building on 60A Freeman Street, Epetedo area.
The demolition exercise is not unconnected with the Wednesday incident around the same area, where a four storey building collapsed, killing over 18 pupils and leaving scores injured.
LABSCA official, Mr. Omotayo Fakolujo, told The Nation that the property owner had been served several notices dating back to 2013 before the demolition.
He said that over 150 houses on the Lagos Island have been identified for demolition.
“On the Lagos Island we have over 150 houses marked for demolition. We have removed over 30 in the last one year and we are going to be removing them in phase.
“What we are trying to do is to remove occupants from all these structures that have been marked so that no life is lost in Lagos.
“For now on Lagos Island alone, we have a clear court case approval of over 80 cases and 80 structures that are ready for removal and we will do it in phases systematically from today (Friday) so that life will be comfortable for Lagosians.
“We will remove three today on Lagos Island. And for the houses that are still occupied, we are going to evict the occupants of the structures because their life is more prominent to us.”
Noting that the agency is monitoring to ensure that new structures are built aright, he noted that in the past three years there is no new structure that has gone down in the state.
“This is because materials testing is doing due diligence into those structures and the state building control through its certification department is also building with them.
“But we need to do foundation proven for over 70 present to the old structures that are over 25 years old to ensure that they are still structurally sound.
“On Massey Street, we have about four or five houses left that we are trying to remove.
“There is still litigation that we must avoid rehabilitation that might arise from litigation if we remove forcefully without clarifying that.
“On our mode of demolishing, these structures are so close by; we have to remove them systematically, manually so that we can ensure that there is safety.
“The exercise is not prompted by the recent collapsed building, before this incident we have removed over 10 structures within Ajeromi Ifemodun and Apapa within the Ijora axis.
“We have to go through exposures of reinforcement, physible craft on it and scientifically, most of these buildings must be subjected to test through Lagos state material testing and its agency and that is how we identify them, so that we are sure that no one is malicious about bringing down the structures,” he said.
Contrary to previous experiences, residents and passer-by on Freeman Street Epetedo, Lagos, praised the officials for the demolition exercise.
A resident, who identified himself as Tajudeen, told The Nation that it is a welcome development.
He said government has shown with this exercise that it has the interest of the people at heart.
Tajudeen revealed that a lot of houses on the island were built poorly and by unqualified masons.
“We are happy; everything should be brought to ground zero. We don’t want any loss of lives again,” he said.
On the house demolished on 47 Smith Street, one of the owners of the property, Mrs. Oshodi Glover, said the developer given the job to renovate the house did nothing.
“What is in the book is that he will renovate our house and hand it over to us. We were told to do test and we did.
“We have been on the case for about seven years now, the case has continuously been adjourned, we have done the test and we are going to court again next week.
“It has been a while that we have been given notice, we told them we have been going to court for about three years and they said there is nothing they could do but we should tell judge to end our case quickly.
“They have written to us that we should renovate the house, the person we gave the job to did nothing, the house was deteriorating.
“He did not pay electricity bills, we had no result to show if he paid for land use and we took the case to court, he is a developer and his name is Awe, the house owner is Thomas.
“He was meant to renovate the house and give it back to us. The outcome of the test was that they will demolish the house.
“We are not against the house being demolished by government but the developer we gave the job to did nothing to the house.
“Most of these developers will say the house is overdue and that they will collect the house that they cannot renovate it, the developer use this house for 30 years and did nothing to it,” she said
Some of the residents who were happy about the demolition exercises urged government to always check the cement iron rods and other materials used in building the house.
Many of them said the house built by developers is bad.
“We are happy that houses are being demolished in the area because if the houses should collapse lives will be lost.
“The way houses are built in Lagos is not good. It is not fair that houses collapse and kill our children, we will be giving birth and our children will just die like that.
“People should not build three or four storey building and there should be space between houses.
“You will see houses built in three months; we love the demolition, it should continue so that houses will no longer collapse and kill innocent people especially children.
“A house collapsed less than two years ago, also on Lagos Island and many people died, we are angry over the continuous building collapse, the demolition should continue.”