- Demolishes illegal structures, abandoned buildings
- Lagos to award 500 new roads contracts in two months
By Gboyega Akinsanmi
After the two-week ultimatum elapsed last week, the Lagos State Government finally rolled out bulldozers yesterday, pulling down illegal structures, which demonstrated its strong will to enforce the original masterplan of Ikoyi, Lekki and Victoria Island.
Consequently, the operation, which was led by the Chairman of the Task Force on Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement Unit), Mr. Yinka Egbeyemi, led to the removal of roadside kiosks and pulling down of shanties on setbacks, medians and walkways.
The operation started four weeks after the state governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, set up a Special Task Force on the Clean-Up of Ikoyi, Lekki and Victoria Island to enforce masterplan of the area.
The clean-up team comprised operatives of the Task Force on Environmental and Special Offences, Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI), Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), Lagos State Parks and Garden Agency (LASPARK), Ikoyi- Obalende LCDA, Iru-Victoria Island LCDA and Victoria Island Ikoyi Residents Association (VIIRA).
Speaking on the importance of the exercise, the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello, said the Ambode administration was determined to make all parts of the state safer and more secure for all residents irrespective of their status and background.
Bello, who is the Chairman of Special Taskforce on Ikoyi, Lekki and Victoria Island, disclosed that the clean-up exercise “is a continuous one aimed at restoring the original masterplan of the urban centres.”
After inspecting the level of clean-up at Ahmadu Bello Way, Ozumba Mbadiwe Waterfront and Ligali Ayorinde, Bello urged the owners of illegal structures that had not been demolished to pull them down before the task force got to their locations.
At Ikoyi, Bello explained that the clean-up exercise specifically started from Awolowo Road to Falomo roundabout through Bourdillon Road before terminating at the frontage of Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge.
According to him, the exercise led to the demolition of illegal structures, shanties and unauthorised buildings by the roadside. Likewise, some commercial motorcyclists who rode against traffic were apprehended.
On Victoria Island, Bello explained that the exercise started at the Ozumba Mbadiwe Waterfront, which he said, had not only become a massive refuse dump, but also an automobile workshop and food court.
At the waterfront, Bello added that the heaps of garbage was carted away by trucks of LAWMA and the site secured by the State Parks and Garden “to prevent the owners of the illegal structures and shanties from returning to the waterfront.
“Likewise, the taskforce cleared Water Corporation Drive in Victoria Island which is a location to several infractions like building on the median and setbacks.
All the illegal structures on the road setback at the beginning of Water Corporation Drive which included bars, canteens, block moulding industry and a car wash were all pulled down.
The stretch of Ahmadu Bello Way was touched by the clean-up team which removed garbage on the roadside whilst affixing 12 hours removal notices on indiscriminately parked vehicles and equipments.
The team also touched many of the abandoned state liaison offices on Ahmadu Bello Way which were being inhabited by squatters including the former Kogi Liaison Office which had been converted to a canteen and gave directives to occupiers to do the needful or risk a sealing off.
A large expanse of land on Ligali Ayorinde which had been taken over by squatters who erected alcohol joints, canteens and a home for undesirable elements was cleared by the task force after the evacuation of the squatters, their goods and properties.
Meanwhile, Governor Ambode at the weekend disclosed that his administration would award 500 new inner-city road contracts, which it said, should be fully executed before 2019.
Ambode noted that his administration would continue to engage indigenous contractors as a way to create more opportunities and cushion the impact of economic recession on the residents.
He disclosed the plan while unveiling Borno Way, Ebute-Meta where he said the state “will soon embark on the second phase of the project in which about 500 roads will be considered.”
Ambode, who was represented by the SSG, Bello, linked the hallmark of his administration to creating more opportunities for indigenous contractors and making life more meaningful for Lagos residents across all councils.
He, however, explained that the contractors, who did shoddy jobs, would be sidelined in the subsequent road projects, noting that poor quality road construction “is unacceptable in Lagos.”
He acknowledged that the construction of 114 inner-city roads “is just the beginning. In 2015, we asked executive secretaries of 20 local government areas and 37 local council development areas to present the roads they want rehabilitated in their areas and they submitted a lot of roads.
“We picked two roads from each of the 57 local councils. We promised that by this year they will be done and they have been done now. The next stage is to go into the new series of roads that they are going to do.
There will be about 500 of them that the state is planning to do now. I can assure you that within the next few months, you will start seeing works being done them.
“The initiative is also a way of empowering and encouraging our local contractors. You know practice makes perfect. They know the implication of not doing the roads well because it will be taken away from them.
“Hence, they have ensured that quality work was done on them. I can assure you that by the time they move to the next stage, it will be better,” the governor explained.
He said the government will not take vandalism of public infrastructure lightly, tasking community leaders in the areas where the new roads were built to take custody of the roads.
In his welcome address, the Sole Administrator, Adedoyin Rojaiye said the council would not condone a situation whereby the roads are turned into parking lots.
He said: “I will not allow this place to be turned into parking lots. The roads were constructed for the good our people and we should take the projects as their own and maintain.
“Also, the walkway should not be turned into market. It is the turn of Borno way today but it could be the turn of your street the next time because more of this projects are in the pipeline.”