Demolish or forfeit building – Ambode tells landlords

Aftermath of the collapsed three-storey building on Martins Street, Ita Faaji, Lagos, last week, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has urged landlords and developers, whose property are already marked for demolition, to comply with the directive or risk forfeiture of such a structure.

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About a dozen of school children and others were killed in the collapsed building , which housed a primary school as well as served as residential facility.

Many of the occupants of the building, which also served as residential facility with several apartments, were trapped under the rubble before they were rescued by a combined team of the Lagos State Emergency Agency and other volunteer individuals, groups and corporate institutions.

Ambode, who spoke through the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, (PPUD), Rotimi Ogunleye, also called for the co-operation of the public in ridding the state of distressed structures.

He said the government had identified 149 distressed and defective buildings in different parts of the state, of which 40 had been demolished in the first phase.

The governor added that 38 others were slated for the second phase, prior to last week’s incident.

“In some instances where the owners and occupiers have been duly served with statutory notices and evacuated, people secretly returned to re-occupy the buildings despite the sealing of the structures by the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA).”

He warned that the state would invoke Section 74 of the Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law on forfeiture against any owner or developer whose negligence leads to building collapse.

In a bid to prevent and reduce future incidents of building collapse, he disclosed that the PPUD held meetings with various ministries, departments and agencies to embark on a holistic response to the present and future challenges posed by illegal developments and siting of unapproved schools.

In attendance were the Lagos State Safety Commission, LASSC, Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPPA), Lagos State Material Testing Laboratory (LSMTL), State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and officials of the Ministry of Education.

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