Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos State governor-elect has said that as part of efforts to stop building collapse in the state, his administration would implement urban renewal programmes.
Sanwo-Olu who was accompanied by the deputy governor-elect, Femi Hamzat on a courtesy visit to President Muhammadu Buhari, in the State House, Abuja, while noting that urban renewal policy has always posed a challenge for successive governments in the state, noted that he would approach the programme with human face, by earning the trust of the people, rather than clamping down on their properties.
Asked what he would do differently to the issue of building collapse, Sanwo-Olu acknowledged that many of the buildings in the state were now obsolete, especially as most of them were constructed when the state was a colony under the British government.
He said he would start by proper enumeration of the building in the state while entering into an agreement with the property owners.
His words: “The recent building collapse is an unfortunate incident. Even when I was serving in government, I used to be the vice chairman on issues that had to do with the building collapse. It was about ten years ago, which is what led us to create an agency called Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA); it was meant to begin to identify structures well ahead before issues like this begin to happen.
“But it’s an unfortunate thing, extremely very unfortunate and it also means that we expect it would happen again. So, imagine the current government had started very quickly the integrity testing of the properties in the state. You know Lagos is a part of the old colony of Lagos, so you will expect to see houses that are over a century old and in those numbers, we need to be sincere to ourselves and we need to be real.
“Lagos truly really needs regeneration, especially on Lagos Island and that was part of the things we promised during our campaign. So, it’s to have a conversation right around all these with families and we’ll see the kind of redevelopment that is important as it’s built in a lot of other big cities like Lagos.
“The issue of urban renewal has been a big challenge to Lagos; over the years, it’s been a challenge to successive governments. We are bringing things that will be different from what others have done that will make Lagos what it’s supposed to be.
“It’s really not that it’s been a challenge, but because we have not been able to see it through to the end. When you want to take people’s properties and you want to regenerate, they must first see a sincerity of purpose – what are the additional plans that you have for them? Before you could regenerate, there must be a stop gap – in the next two to three years what are the plans you have for them? And you need to do what we call proper enumeration.
“Once you can enumerate properly and determine who are the original owners, and you sit and have an agreement; then the regeneration will start. You can do it in two ways: it could be in form of which when you come back, you have part of it; or you turn it into equity. So it depends on whatever model you are working round to ensure that it works.”
Sanwoolu, also had an audience with the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, in the State House, Abuja.