28th April, 2023
By Kazeem Ugbodaga
The Lagos State Government on Friday demolished 13 illegal buildings at I.K. Peter Street, Ajao Estate, cited in close proximity to the Murtala International Airport, Lagos.
Officials of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), backed by taskforce officials stormed the area with bulldozers to begin demolition of the illegal structures after series of notices served the occupants.
The General Manager, LASBCA, Gbolahan Owodunni Oki, giving reasons for the demolition on Friday disclosed that the buildings lacked required approvals and were cited around Airport restricted areas while some were cited on aviation fuel pipelines.
Oki, who feared the havoc that a fire outbreak from the pipeline could cause to lives and properties, said the builders also lacked required documents as approvals for construction in that area.
According to Oki, the buildings were illegally constructed out of clear disregard to the requirements of extant laws.
He added that the buildings had no planning permit and were built around the pipelines, saying that “nobody in his right thinking mind will go and buy a plot on a pipeline and build on the pipeline.”
The LASBCA boss stated that due consultations and communications had been made with enough time of about two years given to the occupants of the affected buildings to evacuate the structures.
Oki lamented that building collapse in Lagos had been a subject of “attitudinal problem,” saying that the buildings were a national risk to the airport being “extremely close,” stressing that no life of a Nigerian is worth being lost to the dangers that the citing of the buildings posed.
The General Manager called on Lagosians to report cases of illegal structures to the government, saying that “turning a blind face to such constructions,” would bear untoward consequences with far reaching losses.
On its part, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), said the agency was happy that the Lagos State Government was stepping into the issue after several warnings and attempt to stop the constructions of the buildings were not yielded to by those it called “encroachers”, who “stole” from the Airport land.
The General Manager, Business Development, FAAN, Ngwu Hycienth, applauded the partnership with LASBCA to bring normalcy and decency to the Airport environment.
He lamented that the Authorities of the Airport began to notice encroachment on its land in 2015, defying the standard rule that no building must be cited close to the perimeter fence.
“That land belongs to FAAN and was acquired for the purpose of public use, the land was acquired 1944 and was officially gazetted. By 1972, the land was extended and duly acquired by the Federal Government and compensations were paid and in 1975, another piece of land was acquired for official use, this is today known as the Murtala Muhammed International Airport.
“In 2015, we noticed encroachments on Ajax Estate and Shasha axis. There is a rule that no building shall be built close to the perimeter fence. When you go there today, you will see violations, some of them use our Perimeter fence as fence.
“God forbid, a terrorists can climb those building and with a short gun shoot down an aircraft. If the airport is closed because of our negligence, nobody will be happy, this airport generate 60 percent of the revenue from airports in Nigeria,” he stated.