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Lagos to acquire abandoned properties

Published by Guardian on Mon, 06 Feb 2012

ALL abandoned properties within the landmass of Lagos State may be taken over by the state government, a step to forestall security threats milling round the metropolis, officials in the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development have hinted.The officials said the decision was arrived at to ensure that miscreants and criminals do not have the opportunity of converting such properties into hidden places.The Commissioner in charge of the ministry, Mr. Olutoyin Ayinde, a Town Planner, during the inspection tour to assess the distressed and properties that are perceived as contravening government regulations, last week, urged residents to be more security conscious and report promptly to government any abandoned and uncompleted building in their neighbourhood. He said such places often become a haven for miscreants, armed robbers, destitute and sometimes traders who endanger their lives in the face of building collapse.According to Ayinde, the state government in its continued effort to keep Lagos safe is set to seize and demolish such structures especially those that have been abandoned for up to five years. Apart from such structures being used by criminals and destitute, government is always mindful of the dangers inherent in building collapses, thus, not ready to give room for such unfortunate development.He identified non-compliance to specific details and alteration of building plans by some developers and house owners as one of the major causes of building collapse. He, therefore, urged owners of abandoned buildings to revert back to the ministry for clearance before they continue with their construction. 'Reasons for this inspection tour was to enforce and ensure strict compliance to the provisions of the Physical Planning regulations because recent development in the State has revealed the growing trend of people erecting structures at night and sometimes on weekends'.He lamented the spate of illegal structures and activities on right of way of roads in many areas and ordered for their immediate removal. He advised the general public once again to seek planning information that, according to him, is without any cost before the commencement of any building.'It will no longer be business as usual as government will not tolerate any construction without relevant approvals for the use being proposed.Meanwhile, some abandoned buildings along Anthony and Apapa-Oshodi express road, including some structures that were described as 'illegal' and a filling station in Okota area that said had no permit were already served with notices and were already sealed during the tour.He also advised builders to be mindful that as the raining season is approaching they should be aware of how they build while ensuring that due process is followed. Members of the public were also encouraged to visit the ministry's website for more information on the various Physical Planning Laws of the state.
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