The Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) on Monday initiated partial demolition measures on several structurally compromised high-rise buildings situated in Lagos Island and the Mushin region of the state.
The demolition, led by the Director of Enforcement of LASBCA, Mr. Olaopa Olusoji, was undertaken as a preventive measure to avert the possibility of these structures collapsing, posing a severe threat to lives and property.
In Lagos Island, the team promptly alerted residents and traders in the popular Oke-Arin Street Market about the imminent danger posed by four-storey buildings in an extremely distressed state, necessitating immediate demolition for the safety of all concerned.
As a result, property owners, traders, and residents swiftly removed their belongings and merchandise as the demolition team began the process of partial demolition on buildings numbered 18, 19, and 21, all of which were four stories high.
Additionally, an unnumbered two-storey building on Oke-Arin Street underwent partial demolition.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that families residing in a four-storey building at number 21 also promptly removed their belongings, illustrating their understanding of the gravity of the situation.
While some tenants faced the difficult decision of leaving without a clear alternative, they expressed gratitude for the opportunity to vacate the building safely.
Subsequently, LASBCA proceeded to Doherty Street, where they conducted several partial demolitions on two slanted four-storey buildings that had merged with a supporting pillar.
Some tenants claimed they were informed by developers that the buildings would not be demolished until February 2024, leading them to pay rent.
In Mushin, Garba Musa Street saw the partial demolition of a four-storey building, drawing the attention of neighbours and sympathizers.
Additionally, at 41 Sarki Street, Idiaraba, a massive four-storey building raised concerns as beams and pillars were deteriorating. In this case, LASBCA removed portions of balconies and doors, opting not to ‘toke’ due to fairs of a total collapse.
Further demolitions occurred at Layi Oyekanmi Street in Ilasa, Mushin, involving two separate three-storey buildings. LASBCA sealed and marked several other buildings for eviction and demolition.
LASBCA’s response to the demolition exercise
In response to the operation, Mr Olaopa Olusoji, LASBCA Director of Enforcement, explained that the team proceeded with their task following the issuance of statutory notifications.
He clarified that the purpose of the partial demolitions was to ensure the immediate evacuation of people, paving the way for the complete removal of severely distressed structures to prevent potential disasters.
Olusoji stressed the uncertainty surrounding the exact moment when a building might collapse, highlighting the high-risk nature of living in such conditions.
He emphasized the agency’s commitment to prioritizing saving lives rather than engaging in prolonged debates. He also noted that residents had been given sufficient time through the notices that were served.
- In his words, “The fact is, nobody can actually say categorically when a building can go down. In fact, anybody under this condition is an unsafe condition and they are living under very high risk.
- “So, we don’t want to take chances; for us, it is better to save lives than argue over a period of time. They have been given due time in terms of notices served.”