Lagos State Government has given a 14-day ultimatum to owners of adjoining structures, and shanties within and around the Mandilas building recently engulfed by fire to vacate and remove all illegal structures within the area or risk sanctions from the government.
This ultimatum was issued on Monday during a joint enforcement visit to the site of the fire incident by some key government agencies in the built sector including the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), Central Business District, Lagos State Task Force, Lagos State Safety Commission, Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, (LASTMA), among others.
During the joint enforcement exercise led by the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Olumide Oluyinka, the illegal occupants were given the option of self-removal of the shanties and attachments within the specified period or paying the government for the service.
Dr. Olayinka said that Lagos has recorded accolades from far and near in the area of ease of doing business which according to him was alluded to by a recent publication by Time Out, a British media and hospitality company that publishes guides and magazines as the 19th best city to visit in the world.
While saying that the present state of markets on Lagos Island is below the standard of what the smart city status of Lagos demands, the Commissioner maintained that any attempt to thwart the image and efforts of the state government in this regard would be resisted vehemently.
He restated the stance of the state government on zero tolerance for shanties, assuring that all the illegal attachments to buildings on Lagos Island would be removed upon the expiration of the ultimatum given.
The Commissioner, while appealing to community leaders to help prevail on residents of Lagos Island, especially those within their sphere of influence, promised that the enforcement exercise would be sustained until total sanity is restored to the entire Lagos Island.
He revealed that the present administration wants to further move up the ladder from the present rating by Time Out, a British media and hospitality company, to the number one position as the best city to visit in the world.
Also speaking, the Special Adviser to the Governor of Central Business District (CBD), Mrs. Bola Olumegbon-Lawal said that the joint enforcement exercise was in line with the THEMES Plus agenda of the present administration to promote and enhance the quality of life for the residents and ensure that the lives and properties of Lagosians are adequately protected.
She reiterated that the state government is saying no to the erection of attachment and extensions as well as sales of goods on the walkways, stressing that sanity must be maintained among market men and women on Lagos Island.
Olumegbon-Lawal pleaded with Community Development Associations, CDAs, and political party members to play by the rule by complementing the efforts of government at the grassroots in ensuring that sanity prevails among owners of shops, market men and women alike.
She recalled that the fire incident that engulfed the popular Mandilas building some days ago could not be easily curtailed by the firefighters due to their inability to gain access to the spot of the fire incident as all the access roads had been blocked by illegal structures and shanties.
The General Manager of Lagos State Building Control Agency, LASBCA, Arc. Gbolahan Oki, who ordered the immediate demolition of some illegal structures attached to buildings within and around the Mandilas 10-storey structure, said that the 14-day ultimatum takes effect from Monday, 29th January 2024.
He informed that property owners who refuse to voluntarily remove their illegal structures would pay for such removal by the government upon the expiration of the 14-day grace period, adding that such persons could also face prosecution as the situation may demand.
Oki decried the practice of erecting generators of high capacities on elevated floors, insisting that all generators placed on any floor other than the ground floor must be removed with immediate effect in the interest of public safety.
Also speaking, the Director-General of Lagos State Safety Commission, Mr. Lanre Mojola attributed the cause of most fire incidents from markets on Lagos Island to fire from generators.
He reiterated the stance of the state government to enforce the placement of generators on the ground floor, saying that such development would help reduce avoidable fire incidents within the market environment.
On his part, the Managing Director of Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), Dr. Muyiwa Gbadegesin said that the market owners should be prepared to start paying for the disposal of their wastes.
He informed that LAWMA will soon commence the enforcement of the usage of waste bins attached to each of the shops on Lagos Island, adding that shop owners would also be encouraged to cultivate the habit of sorting their wastes.