- Says abandoned properties pose security threat
Eleven days after it inaugurated a special committee to clean-up of Ikoyi, Lekki, and Victoria Island, the Lagos State Government wednesday disclosed that the enforcement of the original masterplan of the areas would take off immediately after Eid-el-Kabir.
The state government justified its decision to enforce the original masterplan of Ikoyi, Lekki and Victoria Island, noting that high number of abandoned properties posed daunting security threats to human lives and economic activities in the high-profile centres.
The Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello, explained the resolve of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration to enforce the masterplan in a statement he issued yesterday, noting that the enforcement would take off after Eid-el-Kabir.
Bello, who also chairs the special committee, said the 14-day ultimatum issued on all owners of illegal structures, owners of abandoned buildings and those who have converted walkways into trading points and food courts in the affected areas would take effect after Sallah.
As planned originally, Bello said the 14-day ultimatum would expire on September 11, though the state government had reconsidered its decision to start the enforcement of the masterplan after Eid-el-Kabir.
He, therefore, said the Ambode administration had concluded plans “to commence the enforcement of the Environmental Sanitation and Town Planning laws in the affected areas after the Sallah holidays.”
He, however, clarified that the committee would not clamp down on abandoned properties, illegal structures and their occupants until after issuing contravention notices and carrying out comprehensive sensitisation campaign in the affected areas.
He explained that the committee decided to first embark on sensitisation campaign “to give the owners of such illegal structures enough notices to willingly pull down such structures themselves before the government pulls them down and also prosecute owners of such structures.
He disclosed that that every modality had been put in place “to ensure that the original master plan of Ikoyi, Lekki, and Victoria Island as envisioned by the founding fathers is maintained,” saying the special committee “is poised to discharge its responsibilities vested in it.”
He said the core responsibilities of ensuring the implementation of the approved action plan; executing the clean-up exercise; developing strategies for preventing re-occurrences and other recommendations necessary to sustain environmental renewal of these areas and embarking on a public sensitization exercise for sustaining a cleaner community in the axis.
Bello added that the Ambode administration “is committed to doing everything possible to bring environmental sanity back to every part of the state,” which he said, was emphasised in Ambode’s speech on the day the special committee was inaugurated.
At the inauguration, Ambode said cases of abandoned properties “have become very rampant with miscreants and criminal elements taking over these properties as their base to cause havoc.
“The neat road sides of the past now parade pockets of kiosks, illegal parking lots, unapproved mechanic workshops, roadside beer parlours and commercial centres. In addition, originally residential areas now have industrial and commercial concerns located there, distorting the balance of the environment.
“These bad environmental practices, thriving in these prime areas, can no longer be tolerated and will be brought to an end immediately. These areas must regain their lost glory as this administration demands a return of environmental normalcy,” Ambode said.