Lagos Probes Tank Farm Operations, Issues Six-Month Notice for Property Regularisation

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•  Laments residents’ failure to seek building approval

By Gboyega Akinsanmi

The Lagos State Government at the weekend lamented proliferation of oil tank farms in the state, saying it started investigating their operations due to what it ascribed to implication for public safety and non-compliance with environmental impact assessment guidelines.

The state government, equally, lamented that many residents of the state had not been obtaining approval before erecting their buildings, a practice which it said, violated the State Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law, 2010.

The state government, therefore, declared a six-month notice to enable all property owners in the state regularise their building approval documents while warning any person planning to construct filling station in any part of the state to desist from such plan because embargo had been placed on it.

The Commissioner for Physical Planning & Urban Development, Mr. Rotimi Ogunleye, spoke on the ongoing investigation at a stakeholders’ meeting he addressed on a six-month notice to enable property owners in the state perfect their permits and secure other approvals.

On the proliferation of tank farms within the state, the commissioner said the state government’s decision to embark on the investigation was “to protect residents from fire disasters that might emanate from the tank farms during explosions.”

He explained the decision of the state government to investigate tank farm operation, noting that it “has already embarked on the study. And soon, we will come up with a very comprehensive approach to get everything under control in Lagos.”

He said the ongoing investigation “will address the apprehension often expressed on tank farms in the state. The proliferation of filling stations has made residents express worry over it considering the inflammability of petroleum products.”

The commissioner said the state government “is looking at the entire system and come up with an operational guideline for both construction and operation in Lagos. The entire essence is to ensure safety of life and property within the state.

“We all know the level of inflammability of products sold in filling station. We believe that if we could achieve it, there will be harmonious relationship in the state,” he added.

Also at the meeting, the General Manager of Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPA), Mrs. Funmi Osifuye explained reasons for the six-month window approved for property owners seeking government permits, noting that the opportunity was “to assist property owners protect themselves.”

The general manager said within this window, property owners could approach the government with land receipt and obtain the required government permit, noting that the state government was determined to encourage residents seek building approval before erecting their structures in any part of the state.

She added that the state government “waved registered title as condition for obtaining building approval. The law stipulated that before anyone could erect a structure, such a person must obtain development permit. The government now accepts family receipt as condition to erect structures across the state.

“Between March 1 and August 31, 2018, we will not charge any penalty for those who had erected their structures on their land without a building permit. We purposely created that six months grace period for landowners to obtain their building permit.”

She said approval had been made easy as anyone who went through the process would get his or her building approval within 28 days, noting that the state government had continued “to create functional communities through preparation of master plans and model city plans for LASPPPA to implement and achieve a sustainable and well planned environment.”