The Lagos State Government has said it will soon embark on mass demolition of illegal structures erected on waterways across the state, on petroleum pipelines and under high tension cables.
Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello made the disclosure during the monthly environmental sanitation exercise at Mosan Okunola of Lagos State.
Bello told the residents gripped with fears over their fate that the government will also demolish houses built on the drainage channels and walk ways to pave way for free flow of storm water and mitigate effects of flooding in the state.
He said the state government would soon embark on the sensitization of the general public on the danger inherent in the indiscriminate building, saying it is wrong for anyone to build illegally and indiscriminately without approval by the state government.
“We need to mobilize put people; we need to sensitize them on the need to be aware of their environment and the danger of their actions. What is happening now is that people are building indiscriminately, you see people extending their fences, their houses. If government wants to build a drainage channel, how do government build drainage channel in that kind of situation?
“These are one of the things we have to tell our people to realize that and stop such action. In the process of trying to build our canals, many of the buildings located on the drains will have to go.”
He said it is out of place for owners of illegal structures that would be affected to clamour for compensation since they encroached on government right of ways.
“How can government compensate someone who extended the wall of his house to the main road? Should government compensate such person for removing the structure illegally initially built beyond the approved plan? What kind of compensation will such person get for blocking the road in the first place?
“There is no compensation for doing an illegal thing; the governments will not compensation you for engaging in an illegal act. If anyone builds on the drainage channels which is meant for the general public, such person has no right for compensation.
Also speaking, the Chairman Mosan Okunla Local Council Development Area, Mr. Abiodun Mafe said the council had earlier marked some buildings built on the drainage channels for demolition in preparation for the construction of the drainage channels and canals in the council.
“It is a continuous thing; you can’t just go and build on the pipeline or under the power line, wet land and then said you want compensation from the government, ab initio you have erred. Those that are not conforming to the building regulation will not be accepted. Those that are already contravened with the building laws of Lagos State need to be sanctioned.
“That is why we have been sensitizing them, because they need to know. They should not build on the road to discomfort other road users”.
Mafe explained that the council is currently planning a stakeholders meeting with the residents, council and the state government on the impending demolition.
“We are going to have stakeholders meeting within government and residents and sing the MoU. The state government will take the necessary measures on the things that have happened and the expert will be able to advise us on that. They need to do the necessary thing to correct that,” he added.