Residents urge rethink on order to vacate Lekki Gardens estate

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode during an inspection of the site of the collapsed buildingat Lekki Gardens PHOTO: LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode during an inspection of the site of the collapsed buildingat Lekki Gardens PHOTO: LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT

Residents of Lekki Gardens Estate located along Lekki-Epe Expressway, Lagos State have called on Governor Akinwunmi Amobode to have a rethink on his vacation order given to the residents of the estate.

This may be the reason there appears to be no sign of any resident of the estate moving out as at the weekend.

Following the collapse of a five-storey building belonging to Lekki Gardens Estate Limited, which claimed several lives, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode while inspecting the site last week directed all occupants of the estate to relocate.

Ambode said the movement of the residents became necessary to allow for integrity tests to be conducted on all properties owned by the developer within the estate.

During the inspection, the governor ordered the conduct of integrity tests on all buildings already developed by Messrs Lekki Worldwide Estate Limited, the owners of the estate, to ascertain their fitness, adding that the developer should take responsibility for the relocation of occupants of the buildings as government would not wait for another building to come crashing down and kill other people before taking proactive action.

But investigations by The Guardian at the weekend showed that, no resident has moved as directed by the Governor, as activities have returned to normal in the wide estate.

The resident association met over the weekend. They resolved to engage the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development and the governor on the directive to vacate their buildings.

An official of the association said: “We need to know the issues, hence we will be meeting with both the commissioner and Governor.”

She added: “ This guy (Lekki Garden) should not be persecuted but be encouraged as Lekki Garden has shown to have delivered so much housing units within a very short time.”

According to her, the residents would have to be part of the process of carrying out any tests on their property. “We need to know what the issues are. We should know whether the buildings complained about have issues of compliance or structurally defective.”

Ambode had explained the significance of ordering the structural stability test, noting that his administration is built on safety and the security of lives and properties in all parts of the state.

He said: “The state government will undertake a stability test on all other buildings constructed by the developer in the state, whether occupied or not, to ascertain their structural stability. The developer will pay the cost of the tests. Any building found to be defective would be demolished.

“For those that pass the integrity test, the developer will pay a penalty for any overdevelopment on the site. Further to the above, the state government intends to carry out an audit of all structures in Lagos to ascertain those with or without planning approvals and evaluate the physical developments vis-a-vis the approved building plans.

“The details of this initiative are being finalised and you will be briefed in due course. Let me reiterate that Lagos is open to business for those who must comply with the state’s laws and regulations in order to prosper.

“Our main concern is to continue to improve on the ease of doing business and uphold the rule of law at all times. Those who choose non-compliance and defiance will henceforth face the full weight of the law without fear or favour.”

He added, they, like any others are getting information on the development in their estate through the mass media. She said it was unfortunate that till date (time of filing the report), nobody has come to talk to them on the next plan action.

The resident, who confirmed no resident has moved asked: “Where are we or our tenants moving to. What is the relocation plan? Nobody has spoken to us on the way forward, apart from what we read on the newspapers.”

A commercial motorcyclist, also said he was yet to see anybody packing out of the estate. Speaking in pigin English, he said: “Nobody is moving out, as I am yet to see any of the residents packing out.”

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  • Tayomi

    Security of lives and properties is essential but there must be a relocation plan and Schedule to bring minimum discomfort to residents.

  • Yomi

    Ambode should stop acting to the gallery.

    • Tru

      Just pray that none of the other houses collapse on the occupants. IF IT IS TRUE that the houses were raised to 5 floors instead of the approved 3 floors, then the developers of the properties have serious problems on their hands as the government has the obligation to pull down the houses. The developers (and not Lagos government) have the obligation to refund peoples money. I sincerely hope the Lekki Gardens company have the mandatory requisite insurance in place to help them out. If not I think they are in deep deep problem.

      • Yomi

        In the UK, final building approval is given after several work in progress inspections, not this fire brigade approach. LASG shd partner these private developers instead of this draconian spur of the moment action

        • Tru

          @Yomi, I really cannot understand your point here. Do you mean that in the UK, you can build a house without an approval or planning permit? Do you mean that if you build a 5 storey building instead of the an approved 3 storey the government will not require you to pull it down? The answer to both questions is NO. So I dont see anything draconian the Lagos Govt is doing here. They are simply carrying out their duty to protect citizens life.