We are not afraid to enforce our environmental laws - LASG


Tokunbo Wahab, Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources

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 the State Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, 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”

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 explained that 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 said 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 come back to the office but came out and had saved about eight houses at Arowojobe too based on the reviewed setback and humanitarian consideration for the property owners.

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

According to him, “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 one of the reasons to our underdevelopment. You can 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 got 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 can not be on legality. It won’t stand because it is a foundation we need to be careful about,” he said.

“All the letters and correspondences from the government being displayed in the public space showed 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 were given.”

He warned that climate change is real and that it is the duty of every responsible government to build resilient infrastructure to protect the people as the State Government is presently doing.

He cited the sad example of Kenya where the ravages of flooding and climate change has led to the loss of over 250 lives at the last count, saying failure to act precisely may precipitate disaster when it rains.

“An illegality cannot become a legality overnight because you have been there for several years. You can pay your ground rent on an illegal structure but that does and will never make it right”


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