Building Collapse Prevention Guild Urges Lagos State Government to Investigate Corruption in Arowojobe Demolition

Adeniji's statement highlighted the necessity for the government to investigate its staff and former political office holders whose alleged compromises led to the delayed yet destructive demolition activities along System One Channel in Mende

Lagos, Nigeria – In the wake of the controversial demolition of structures in the Arowojobe area of Mende Villa, the Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG) has called on the Lagos State Government to probe the involvement of compromised officials and hold them accountable. 

The BCPG’s appeal, articulated in a statement signed by the coordinator of the BCPG Kosofe Cell, Soji Adeniji, underscores the urgent need for accountability and preventive measures to safeguard the interests of the public.

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Investigate Compromised Officials

Adeniji’s statement highlighted the necessity for the government to investigate its staff and former political office holders whose alleged compromises led to the delayed yet destructive demolition activities along System One Channel in Mende. 

He emphasized the importance of prosecuting retired officials for negligence or dereliction of duty, arguing that such actions would foster loyalty to the public interest and discourage future misconduct.

“To complement the essence of this belated demolition, the government should cast its searchlight on its staff and past political office holders and dispense immediate justice on those of them whose compromise resulted in the current belated wanton destruction of property along System One Channel at Mende, Lagos,” Adeniji stated. 

“Where those who have retired are prosecuted for negligence, dereliction of duty, or other offenses committed while in service, loyalty to the public interest will be encouraged.”

Accountability for Developers and Construction Professionals

The BCPG coordinator further urged that regulatory bodies identify and punish developers and construction professionals responsible for the illegal buildings. 

To prevent such occurrences in the future, the authenticity of land documents and adherence to building regulations should be meticulously verified before any construction begins.

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“Unrepentant, stubborn developers who are fond of flouting building regulations and seducing government officials towards compromise should be held accountable. 

Such a deliberate offense, impunity, deserves no sympathy,” Adeniji noted. 

He stressed the role of construction professionals in ensuring the legality and safety of buildings, calling for strict penalties against those who participate in unauthorized construction activities.

Mitigating the Impact on Occupants

Adeniji also highlighted the need for the government to mitigate the adverse effects of demolitions on innocent occupants. 

He suggested that the government should provide adequate notice to direct occupants rather than just landlords to reduce the suffering of those living in buildings designated for demolition.

“Temporary accommodation or relief camps should be provided by the government for victims of building demolition. 

Past errors cannot be left to haunt residents perpetually,” he added. Adeniji acknowledged the painful but necessary nature of these demolitions to prevent flooding and safeguard lives and property, particularly during the approaching rainy season.

Allegations Against Government Parastatals

In his statement, Adeniji pointed to allegations from developers that the Lagos State Development and Property Corporation (LSDPC) had set a precedent by encroaching on natural watercourses. 

According to the BCPG coordinator, the LSDPC’s activities, including sand filling and the construction of housing estates in swampy areas like Alapere, have contributed to the flooding issues now necessitating these demolitions.

“The current building demolition aimed at correcting past mistakes has, in an antithesis, generated an allegation from developers that a government parastatal, Lagos State Development and Property Corporation, laid a substantial precedent, encroaching on the natural watercourse at Alapere by sand filling and situating housing estates in the swampy area beside the highway bridge,” Adeniji explained.

Government’s Rationale and Public Reaction

The Lagos State Government, through the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, commenced the demolition of buildings in Arowojobe, citing the need to avert severe flooding on the mainland. Commissioner for the Environment Tunji Bello defended the demolition, stating that the structures were illegally built on the System 1 drainage right of way to the Odo Iya Alaro watercourse, thereby obstructing water flow and increasing flood risk.

“The buildings were pulled down to avert flooding of the entire mainland,” Bello asserted. The demolitions, however, sparked outrage among residents, with videos of the exercise circulating on social media and drawing widespread criticism.

Praise for the Ministry’s Leadership

Despite the backlash, Adeniji commended the current leadership of the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources for its decisive actions. He acknowledged the economic and social hardships faced by those affected by the demolitions but emphasized the importance of preventive measures to avoid future disasters.

“Naturally, as a professional organization that understands the cost of building construction, the value of an existing building, and the cost implications of building deconstruction or demolition, the importance of preventive measures cannot be overemphasized,” Adeniji stated. 

He underscored the necessity of the demolition exercise to save lives and properties from the imminent threat of flooding.

A Call for Comprehensive Solutions

The BCPG’s call to action highlights the complex interplay between urban development, regulatory compliance, and environmental management in Lagos. 

As the city grapples with the challenges of rapid urbanization, the guild’s recommendations underscore the need for a holistic approach to urban planning and disaster prevention.

By investigating compromised officials, holding negligent developers accountable, and providing support to affected residents, the Lagos State Government can not only address the immediate concerns raised by the Arowojobe demolitions but also lay the groundwork for more sustainable and resilient urban development practices in the future.

 

This article was created using automation and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our staff editorial members

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