- Wahab charged Lagosians to respect the State Drainage Master Plan to avoid property demolition
The Lagos State Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tokunbo Wahab, has issued a seven-day contravention notice to owners of buildings on Orchid Road, Agungi, Ajiran, Conservation Road, Osapa all along the Ikota River.
This is contained in a statement obtained from the X handle of the Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Kunle Adesina, on Monday in Lagos.
Adesina said Wahab made the declaration alongside the Special Adviser Environment, Mr Olakunle Rotimi-Akodu, after an extensive inspection tour of the Ikota River corridor.
He said the inspection tour was to ascertain the level of compliance by property owners whose buildings and fences fall within the approved seven-meter setback on both sides of the channel.
Wahab charged Lagosians to respect the State Drainage Master Plan to avoid property demolition.
He stressed that there was no going back on the decision of the state to enforce the law and reclaim drainage setbacks following the expiration of the notices issued.
The commissioner said the Nigerian Conservation Foundation had earlier written a petition complaining about several distortions saying that there had been a lot of distortion on their roads.
He said the distortion affected the natural habitat of animals in the foundation as well as on Orchid Road where a lot of damage had been done to the drainage channel designed to take stormwater from the communities into the Lagoon.
He said Lagos State had been humane in its approach to reclaim the drainage right of way hence the review of the setback alignment from the original seven metres to six metres after a meeting with property owners to reduce the number of structures to be affected.
“We cannot keep lampooning government for flooding when developers, builders & residents are the main cause of flooding.
“We shall continue to enforce because that is why laws are made. Without law and order, there cannot be development, enough of this bad behaviour,” Wahab said.
The commissioner and his team also visited Oral Estate II along system 156 Igbo Efon where the Primary Channel was found to have been totally blocked by illegal structures without drainage aprovals.
The commissioner also visited Agungi, Ajiran and Osapa where notices had earlier been served, adding that final decisions would be undertaken having seen the level of encroachment as regards the setbacks of Primary Channel and Secondary Collectors in the areas.
He explained that the commissioner noted that the System 156 Ikota River channel setback was originally 46 metres while property owners and residents on the corridor have reduced the size.
Wahab also visited Chevron Drive, where he issued a stop work order to Gravitas company, owners of Grace Ville Island & Pocket Island for sand filling part of Ikota River thereby reducing the lagoon size from the original 250 meters designed to accommodate the free flow of water.
“The lagoon is a natural path, people have started reclamation to cover up the path and narrow it; you cannot narrow the path of water, if you do, water will naturally create another path and this is dangerous for everyone,” Wahab said.
Adesina said that Wahab had earlier in the day, supervised the demolition of shanties on Thompson Avenue following petitions by residents that strange faces and ladies of easy virtues were always lining up the streets at night which is a security risk for the whole state and Ikoyi environs especially.
“At 6 a.m. this morning, we came in and what we saw was unimaginable and we had to pull down these illegal structures, evacuate, make some arrests and charge them to court; by tomorrow we will have full possession of the land,” Wahab said.
He urged all squatters to relocate outrightly as the state is determined to rid the state of shanties and all environmental infractions that dot the landscape, adding “We will not allow individuals who have no business in the state to become an environmental nuisance and security risk.”
He said the Special Adviser on Environment noted that Lagos despite its peculiarities as a coastal state with low-lying terrains and a high population density among others, has remained afloat because of various measures put in place by the government.
He explained that the state government embarked on a comprehensive all-year-round cleaning and maintenance, dredging of drainage channels/canals and constructing new drainages where and when necessary to find a lasting solution to flooding across the state.
He called for the full participation of citizens in governance as well as full participation by the communities and governmental bodies at all levels to achieve great improvements in the environmental sanitation, maintenance and sustainable environment.