I read Yacoob Abiodun’s online article and it was succinctly put. I also read the rebuttal by the Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning, Dr. Idris Salako, and I can unequivocally state that he failed to address the issues raised.
One of the issues raised borders on flagrant abuse of the building regulations by some developers. If he has not taken the unpopular side, he would have realised that Abiodun held a good brief for Lagos State.
The question he failed to answer is: What is the right thing for Government to do in a situation where a developer is given approval for two blocks building for 28 units in a land area of 3,000 square meters and the developer has gone ahead and built 84 units? Does that make the approval right or wrong and is that against the building regulations or not?
Why do we keep on dancing around the drum and looking for who to smear the mud on? These are physical things and still standing for everyone to see. The Commissioner may want to wish it away, but it will never go away until the right thing is done.
Secondly, before such a construction is approved, there is need for Environmental Impact Assessment. Does his response now replace an EIA report for 28 units apartment approved with that of 84 units? Did the land expand and is the estate infrastructure considered?
Thirdly, the car space was for 72 cars shown on the original drawing for 28 units flats, the same space was maintained for the increased density of 84 units flats. What the residents are complaining on is the overbuilding and over density, not whether the Building Order permits 10 floors or not.
In the Building Order of 2013-2033, where the builders build 10 floors, the same Order contains that it has to be with three level packing for cars. Why do we make laws and we then turn around to pick and choose which ones to implement and for whom? I will appreciate if the Hon. Commissioner can answer in this line.
Fourthly, the canals blocked by the reclaiming works by the developer which causes flooding in the estate is there for everyone to see.
The Environmental Audit done by the estate that shows that what is being built by the developer, Lekki Gardens, cannot be sustained in the estate.
Conceding the fact that the Commissioner did agree with us that the change in Approval Order cannot be sustained, then one would have expected action. For the past nine months the residents have engaged Government without any result.
Our able Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, is an action Governor so same should be expected of those working under him.
My belief is on this adage: “that when an elder takes something that belongs to a child and raises his hand that the child is unable to collect what rightly belongs to him, one day, the elder’s hand will begin to ache and he will lower his hand and the child will collect what is rightly his”.
That is JUSTICE. We will get it one day so long as there is God Almighty.
It is my prayer that, one day, our action Governor will come to see things for himself, and I am sure the right thing will be done for he is a principled person.
God bless Lagos State.
By Chinwe Ezenwa-Mbah (Chairperson, OSFRA)