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Lagos Demolitions: Commissioner Addresses Concerns, Emphasizes Safety and Planning

The Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Oluyinka Olumide, has been at the center of discussions regarding recent demolitions of unauthorized structures in the state. In an effort to clarify the government’s position and address public concerns, Commissioner Olumide has shed light on the rationale behind these actions.

A key point highlighted by the Commissioner is the prevalence of unapproved buildings, particularly in areas like Ibeju-Lekki. Media reports suggest that as many as 80% of structures in the region lack proper permits [ICIR Nigeria]. Commissioner Olumide emphasizes the importance of adhering to building regulations to ensure public safety. Unapproved constructions often fail to meet safety standards, increasing the risk of building collapses, which have unfortunately claimed lives in Lagos in the past.

The Commissioner has also acknowledged the need for effective communication and planning. He points to the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) and its role in regulating construction activities. The aim, as stated by Commissioner Olumide, is to achieve “zero tolerance for building collapses” through proper inspection and enforcement [ICIR Nigeria].

However, critiques of the demolitions point to potential shortcomings in the system. Some argue that a lack of transparency in the approval process creates hurdles for developers, while others express concern about the displacement caused by demolitions without proper warning or relocation assistance [Development Diaries].

The Commissioner has hinted at potential solutions, including partnerships with the private sector to streamline the approval process. The “Accredited Certifiers Programme” aims to improve monitoring and inspections during construction phases [ICIR Nigeria].

The Lagos demolitions issue remains a complex one. While the Commissioner emphasizes the need for safety and adherence to urban planning regulations, concerns persist regarding transparency, communication, and the human cost of these actions. Moving forward, a collaborative approach involving the government, developers, and the public is likely necessary to ensure a safe and well-planned future for Lagos.

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