The Lagos State Government has denied an allegation that it was tacitly condoning the violation of physical planning laws by some developers in both the Osborne Foreshore Phase II and Peace Valley Estate, Magodo.
The government position was contained in a statement issued by the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Idris Salako, on Monday, March 1, 2021.
Mr. Yacoob Abiodun, an Urban Planner and Planning Advocate, in an article published on EnviroNews, alleged that residents of Osborne Foreshore Phase II and Peace Valley Zone, Magodo were crying foul of the activities of some developers “whose development on the two estates violate the extant Operative Development Plans and the Approval Order for the localities”.
He also alleged the introduction of new Building Approval Order 2013-2033, sequel to the change of estate’s Master Plan, and wrongful classification and change of the Osborne Foreshore Phase II Approval Order without consultation with residents of the estate.
While expressing his displeasure at the twist of facts by the writer, the Physical Planning Commissioner said that it was important to correct the misinformation peddled in the report in order to disabuse the minds of Lagosians by setting the records straight.
Salako retorted that, contrary to insinuations, the residents of Osborne Foreshore Phase II had influenced the increase in height of the area from the original 4/5 to 10 floors, while Phase I still remained 4/5 floors.
He explained that the review of the Approval Order for Osborne Foreshore was precipitated by the continuous agitation of the residents as original allottees had brought about increase in height and density of the estate, while the Government came in to ensure a proper review to the benefit of all concerned.
Dismissing the allegation of non-involvement in the review, he stated that the ongoing review process, which was borne out of several consultations and engagements with the resident association, was in line with the extant regulations guiding development planning in the state.
He added that the review could not have been more inclusive, having met and dialogued with residents of the estate for more than 10 times, the outcome of which was the Ministry’s encouragement of the residents’ association to engage a consultant, thereby leading to the engagement of Messrs. MOA Planners to prepare a revised Plan along with the review sent by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing. The Revised Plan will still be subjected to stakeholders’ engagement before final Approval.
“It is therefore disheartening that, despite repeated dialogue, the latest of which was held with the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, three weeks ago, the best that the Osborne Foreshore Residents Association Phase II (OSFRA) could do was to resort to the social media to intimidate and embarrass the Lagos State Government,” he said.
He averred that the writer’s portrayal of the incident at the Peace Valley Zone, Magodo was not less misleading than the entire writeup as it attempted to denigrate gallant officers of the Nigeria Police who were in the estate on lawful assignment; whereas the Police officers were not only professional and diligent, but they acted with utmost respect for the rule of law and engagement.
The Commissioner, who, being present at the scene, intervened alongside the former Prelate of the Methodist Church, Pa Sunday Ola Makinde, to restore order and get the understanding of the police on the arrest warrant, expressed his dismay at the erroneous report which exaggerated the incident and glorified some people who claimed to have thwarted the arrest of the estate chairman.
Salako noted that it had become apparent from the unwarranted media outburst that some people were out there to take advantage of the social media and information technology for personal ends.
He emphasised that no amount of pressure would compel the government to outsource its responsibility for Physical Planning to groups or individuals while the State Government would continue to protect the built environment and relate to everyone equally, irrespective of status or creed.