The Lagos State government took action on Saturday by demolishing an unauthorised structure on Banana Island, which was constructed on reclaimed land without permission, obstructing drainage paths.
Leading the operation, the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr Oluyinka Olumide, also ordered the demolition of illegal fences.
Accompanied by Mr Gbolahan Oki, the General Manager of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), Olumide expressed concern about the increasing disregard for building regulations by property owners and developers. This led to the demolitions to enforce compliance.
LASBCA operates under the supervision of the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development.
The commissioner issued a warning against illegal land reclamation in the state, emphasising that individuals do not have the right to undertake reclamation without the necessary permissions from the responsible ministry.
He explained that land reclamation is the exclusive right of the government, which conducts necessary tests through sand filling. Residents were advised to follow the proper land acquisition procedures to avoid legal action.
Olumide pointed out that the demolished structure had violated a suspension order issued by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu during his assessment visit to the site earlier in the year. It was discovered that the developer had illegally dredged the river to reclaim the land without seeking approval from any authority.
The commissioner further stated that indiscriminate dredging activity in the area needed to cease as it violated planning laws and had a negative impact on the state’s ecosystem.
“We need to stop people’s belief that they are above the law. Once there is a law, everyone is expected to abide by it, as it is meant to guide society. Currently, lawless activities are taking place, where people are recklessly reclaiming land for their own development, which is very concerning. The power line was even installed in the middle of the lagoon, and the structure was almost reaching the power line, which is unsafe for human habitation,” he remarked.
Mr Gbolahan Oki, the General Manager of LASBCA, explained that the construction site had been sealed three times, but the developers repeatedly broke the government’s seals to continue their work. These developers lacked building plan approvals and layout approvals.
Oki advised residents to visit the district offices in their local governments to obtain accurate information and carry out the necessary checks and documentation. He urged them to acquire a Certificate of Occupancy and building plan approval or regularisation before commencing construction.
He emphasised that his role was to remove anything illegal and breaking government seals contravened the building code. Oki warned that illegal land reclamation activities would be met with punishment. All buildings involved in unapproved shoreline extensions along the Lagos Waterfront would be demolished, and their developers prosecuted.
He urged all prospective building owners to exercise due diligence before beginning construction, which included obtaining the necessary documentation from relevant government agencies.