The Lagos State Government reaffirms its commitment to ensuring justice and fairness for all residents by not applying the law selectively. This pledge was articulated by the State Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, during a visit to the Lekki 2 Ikota Drainage Channel corridors, where structures encroaching upon the drainage channel were undergoing demolition for an on-the-spot assessment.
In the face of pleas from the occupants and owners of fully constructed structures located within the drainage setbacks and marked for demolition, Wahab emphasised that halting the demolition at this stage would be inconsistent with the law. He clarified that the demolished duplexes were situated on the same drainage setback alignment as those yet to be removed, underscoring the state’s unwavering determination to reclaim these setbacks and preserve the established master plan.
After the inspection, which also covered Osapa London and major housing estates in Ikota, Lekki County Estate, and Victoria Garden City Estate, Wahab expressed the regrettable necessity of the State Government’s decision to dismantle these fully constructed buildings in order to restore drainage setbacks for the free flow of stormwater in the area. He highlighted that the owners of the structures in Ikota had been aware of their contraventions and had engaged with the Ministry as far back as 2020, when many of the structures were at the foundation stage, with several notices issued.
Wahab noted the alarming degree of encroachments in Ikota, where structures had been erected on canal paths, necessitating decisive intervention. He reiterated that no amount of pleas could prevent the upcoming demolition exercise, and he personally met with the owners of structures that are yet to be demolished, advising them to vacate before the exercise reaches their properties.
“We have inspected the area thoroughly and determined that all structures on canal paths and within the canal itself must be removed, and the path must be restored to allow proper water discharge into the Ikota River,” Wahab stated.
The Commissioner also visited Victoria Garden City (VGC) in Lekki, where some homeowners extended their approved plots beyond the five-meter buffer zone of VGC. These extensions will be removed to facilitate unimpeded water flow into the Lagoon.
Wahab emphasised that actions inconsistent with legality and a disregard for the environment must cease, and the government is obligated to enforce its regulations to rectify these situations. Homeowners are urged to obtain drainage approvals, among other necessary permits, before commencing construction projects to prevent such occurrences.
“These enforcement actions will be an ongoing effort, as individuals cannot hold the government responsible for the consequences of their actions. Any adverse impact on the environment will ultimately come back to haunt us,” Wahab asserted.
Regarding the temporary closure and subsequent reopening of some major markets in the state, Tokunbo Wahab clarified that these actions were taken due to non-compliance with the state sanitation laws. Markets were given a checklist to fulfil, and once these requirements are met, the markets will be reopened.
Wahab stressed the necessity of maintaining clean and hygienic market spaces, ensuring the safety and well-being of both traders and customers. The government is actively conducting a safety audit in these markets through the Safety Commission to enhance safety standards.