There has been ongoing activity of building demolition in recent times witnessed in communities of Lagos state which the law enforcements described as a bold step and safe plan to prevent sudden collapse and possibly a huge catastrophic event. Earlier this year, the state government published a list of about 349 distressed buildings subjected to demolition. The most touching one for the residents is the ongoing demolition of 17 unfit structures within Alaba International Market in Ojo Local Government Area of the state which commenced on Friday.
These buildings being used for commercial purposes within the market area were deemed as “distressed structures” by the state authorities. It was a cooperative effort by the Lagos State Task Force and the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). LASBCA’s team sent out to reseal a number of structures that had previously been issued several seal notices described their actions as a precautionary move against a possible disaster. They advised the residents to vacate the buildings due to structural defects that made them unsafe to inhabit.
Government demolished the structure to prevent casualties.
LASBCA had issued multiple vacate notices dating back to 2016 and several more to this year, 2023, as evidenced by the indicated inscriptions on various areas of the buildings that were physically deteriorated. Some of the buildings being reconstructed appeared to be bending/leaning, as reported by a NAN correspondent on the observing party. The director of law enforcement gave reporters an aerial view of the area and pointed out several sinking high-rise buildings that were having new floors added. One of the sinking plazas had a lovely row of stores decorated with tiles and other materials along its front, while its back was slanted on swampy terrain.
In interviews with the reporters, some traders claimed they had paid out cash to secure necessary permits before beginning renovations. General Manager of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) Mr. Gbolahan Oki responded by explaining to reporters that the government planned to demolish these structures in order to prevent other casualties. Oki claimed he experienced regular bouts of anxiety whenever it rained because of his fear that one of these structures would collapse and cause chaos. He assured people that their lives were more important to the government than any material possessions.
Authorities had given the occupants enough notice for seven years.
According to him, the occupants have been given multiple reminders to perform certain actions since 2016, but they have refused to do so and have instead resorted to harassing law enforcement. Oki, who lamented the rate with which agency personnel had been harassed in the past, stated that the LASBCA had to enlist the help of the Lagos State Task Force because the occupants were employing thugs to attack agency representatives whenever they attempted enforcement.
He stated that the government authorities had given enough notice for seven years for the occupants to get away from the buildings and comply with the notices. The threat that the dilapidated buildings in ALABA International Market pose to neighboring structures and the lives of businesspeople working in the market, makes the removal of those buildings an urgent necessity. Oki, on the other hand, claimed that all of the listed structures were utterly distressed, citing features indicative of dilapidated structures such as pre-existing tilting at extremely unfavorable angles and various types of cracks.
Residents should seek LASBCA authorization to begin construction.
Oki emphasized that residents’ life is of greater value and cannot be traded for financial benefits or profits and the government will continue to place priority on this fact regardless of their location. He said that the government has made it easier obtaining building permits by establishing LASBCA regional offices all throughout the territory. To ensure proper monitoring and supervision, he suggested that Lagosians with appropriate land documentation and building plan approvals should go to or write to LASBCA offices to receive authorization to begin construction.