Demolitions: Lagos gives options to property owners on drainage setbacks in Lekki, Ajiran, others

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Following appeals by members of the public, the Lagos State Government has given property owners who built on drainage setbacks to come up with workable options that will re-establish the encroached setbacks without carrying out demolition exercises.

The state government gave the option at a mutual dialogue with property owners on the corridor of Lekki County, Ikota GRA, Megamunds Estate, Ajiran, Agungi, Orchid, Oral II, and environs, in apparent response to a plea to be given time to come up with workable options.

Recall that the Lagos State Government recently embarked on demolition of structures found to encroach on the drainage alignments in the state, which have resulted in heavy flooding of the affected areas in the state. The development also led to a public outcry against the government, with an appeal to explore other options rather than demolitions.

Speaking with the property owners and residents at Alausa, Ikeja, the State Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tokunbo Wahab, in company of the Special Adviser on Environment, Kunle Rotimi-Akodu, said, “The State is committed to re-establishing the drainage setbacks, which have now been totally blocked by some residents or converted to access roads.

“The state government would be humane in its approach to reclaiming the drainage right of way, and we will give property owners and residents opportunity to profer a solution to the reclaiming of the setback until a particular date in order to reduce the number of structures that would be affected.

Wahab explained to the representatives from Megamunds Estate that System 44A cuts through Ikota GRA, and Megamunds is a 19.5 meters (Width) channel that has been blocked by Ikota GRA and Lekki County property owners and residents.

He said the government was determined to find a realistic solution to the flooding in the areas, and as a result of this, the 31-meter drainage alignment would be reestablished and the 6-meter setback on both sides would be recovered.

According to the commissar, “all property owners whose fences fell within the drainage setback will be served mandatory contravention notices as the law demands, while enforcement will be the last option.

“As regards this alignment, we will serve notices as required by law and reestablish the one for System 44; no one would tell the state government that the canal did not exist before construction commenced,” he said.

“I would like to let you know that a layout can be approved based on what developers make available, but if the layout does not reflect the natural alignment, then I can’t blame physical planning but the developers that failed to get their drainage clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources.”

He also told the affected owners of the Ajiran and Agungi drainage channels that the government was ready to re-establish the drainage setback, which has now been converted into an access road into residents homes.

“This conversion has made it difficult to access the canal for purposes of cleaning because it has been converted to private use,” Wahab lamented.

He stressed that the government and stakeholders along Ajiran/ Agungi channel would have to initiate an agreement on how the property would take ownership of the drainage channel and see to the maintenance of the channel permanently.

Wahab stated that the officials of Ministry would serve letters to affected buildings next week to inform them of how the agreement would be signed.

Earlier, he had another meeting with property owners on Orchid and Oral II Estate on the corridor of System 156 and 157 channels along the Ikota River, where the commissioner affirmed that both channels have been totally blocked by illegal structures without drainage approvals.

Wahab said property owners whose buildings and fences fall within the approved seven-meter setback on both sides of the channel had earlier been served seven-day contravention notices that had expired.

Meanwhile, during the meeting, affected property owners pleaded with the commissioner to temper justice with mercy and grant the residents the opportunity to come up with possible solutions to salvage the situation.

The commissioner, however, urged developers and builders to always seek drainage approvals before commencing any building project.

 

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