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We Are Not Afraid to Enforce Environmental Laws – LASG

The Lagos State Government on Friday restated in unmistakable terms its commitment to enforce the state environmental laws to the benefit of the greater majority of residents.

The commitment was given by HC MOE&WR, Tokunbo Wahab when he appeared on an Arise TV Breakfast programme “The Morning Show” to speak on a viral video and developments concerning removal of structures on drainage setbacks in the state.

According to him, “No matter the super structure/ beautiful building people build, if there are no laws and regulations, it becomes an Hobbesian State where life is short, brutish and nasty”

Mr. Tokunbo Wahab restated that the recent removal of structures on the alignment of Odo Iya Alaro river in Mende Villa estate, Soluyi, Ifako, Arowojobe under system 1 though painful was based on the overriding public interest.

He said contravention notices have been served on the property owners as far back as 2021 with different levels of consultation taking place between the state and property owners and the representative of the area in the state Assembly with the last one holding last November.

He added that the property developer and the executives of the residents association of the estate met with state government severally but failed to relate the outcomes of such meetings to their members.

Wahab said governance is not a tea party but about taking very painful decisions which will ultimately benefit the majority, urging cynics to wait till 2027 for politicking as now is time for governance.

He explained that the System 1 drainage channel midstream (Odo Iya Alaro) which cut across Ogudu, Ojota, Ifako, Gbagada, Maryland and Ojota was with a setback of 140metres that has now been reduced to 100 meters by Mr Gov to reduce collateral damages.

He stressed that the original dimension was 140meters for the setback but the State government has decided to put a human face to the enforcement process by moving 60 metres to Ogudu/Maryland section and 40 metres to Ogudu/Odo Iyaloro section which now makes it 100 metres.

He explained his team didn’t just sit back in the office but came out and have saved about 8 houses at Arowojobe too based on the reviewed setback and humanitarian consideration for the property owners.

He said that the bridge been constructed by Julius Berger across Maryland to Opebi will affect all the contravening buildings if not removed and will also cause major flooding.

Said he: “The will of justice may be slow but it will surely grind to a halt. The era of the people being brazen without consequences is gone. You may be a very good architect but when it comes to urban planning, environmental issues, it is a different gamut of discussion”

He said most times developers get approvals but build beyond the approved limits and this is the case of Mende. They got approval for like 28units and built 38units. The facts are there to be verified.

“When you are given authority to build five and you build ten. illegality cannot be on legality. It won’t stand because it is a foundation we need to be careful about” he said

All the official letters and correspondences being displayed in the public space shows that there was a rider that: You must keep to this terms of the approval. Which means it was provisional. For the Mende Villa, we found out that they exceeded the drainage approval they had”

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