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Lagos govt. insists on non-selective application of law in demolition exercise

The Lagos State government has insisted that it would not be selective in applying the law in the ongoing demolition of illegal structures in Lekki Phase II and its environs.

The Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, who made this clarification on Saturday in Lagos, said the state government was committed to ensuring that justice and fairness were served to all equally.

Mr Wahab, who was besieged by pleading occupants and owners of the fully built structures constructed on the drainage setbacks and already marked for demolition, said stopping the demolition exercise would amount to double standards.

The commissioner added that the demolished blocks of duplexes were on the exact drainage setback alignment as the ones yet to be removed.

He said the state was irrevocably committed to reclaiming its drainage setback and restoring its master plan.

Mr Wahab explained that it was sad that the government had to take a difficult decision to pull down the fully built-up structures to reclaim the drainage setback for the free flow of stormwater in the area.

He said the owners of the structures demolished in Ikota were aware that they contravened the law.

The commissioner said the owners had different engagements with the ministry from 2020, when most of the structures were at foundation levels, and several notices were served.

He said he had visited the Ikota site once again and personally met the owners of the structures yet to go down.

The commissioner also visited Victoria Garden City (VGC) in Lekki, where some homeowners extended their approved plots beyond the five-metre buffer zone of VGC.

He said the government had hitherto toed the line of advocacy, but the people had refused to change; hence, enforcement actions had to be taken to make corrections where necessary.

“These enforcements will be a continuous exercise; people cannot blame the government for what they caused by their actions; whatever negative thing you do to the environment will come to haunt you eventually.’’

Speaking on the closure and reopening of some major markets in the state, Mr Wahab said they were closed for defaulting on the provisions of the state sanitation laws.

“You need to see the unsightly state and scene in the markets before closure, and we cannot allow our people to trade food commodities and other items in a dirty and filthy environment,” he said.

(NAN)

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