The Lagos State government has addressed concerns about the recent demolition of distressed buildings in Alaba International Market, Ojo Local Council. The government clarified that the demolition was not a witch-hunt or an attempt to acquire the land but was carried out with the primary aim of protecting lives.
Mr. Gbolahan Oki, the General Manager of Lagos State Building Control Agency (LABSCA), made this statement during an on-the-spot assessment of the demolition site. The visit was conducted amid heavy downpour and was attended by Mr. Kehinde Osinaike, the counterpart from Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPPA), and a seven-man committee set up by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu following the demolition exercise.
The delegation was led by Mr. Oluwole Sotire, Permanent Secretary of their parent parastatal, the Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development.
Previously, South-East traders in the market, led by Imo Governor, Mr. Hope Uzodimma, had met with Governor Sanwo-Olu to address allegations of tribal bias behind the demolition exercise.
During the on-the-spot assessment, Mr. Oki explained that the demolition was carried out to enforce building regulations and laws, with the aim of preventing building collapse. He pointed out that most of the demolished buildings lacked permits and necessary documentation required by the state government.
Mr. Oki emphasized the importance of prioritizing human lives over property, stating, “All we are after is that the lives of traders and other Nigerians are extremely important to the Lagos State government. I have seen people painting buildings that are dilapidated, that are not good, it is not painting that makes a building new. Our lives are more important.”
He further urged owners of distressed buildings marked for demolition to take action within two weeks to prevent disasters. If no action is taken, the government will step in to address the issue.
The Lagos State government’s focus on safety and adherence to building regulations underscores their commitment to the well-being of the general public.