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Govt served Lagos estate demolition notices since 2021, says commissioner

The Lagos State Commissioner for Environment, Tokunbo Wahab, revealed that the government had issued two demolition notices to the residents of Mende Villa Estate in 2021 and 2023.
 
Wahab's statement was in response to a property developer's claims from Mende Villa alleging that proper notice was not provided prior to the demolition. He confirmed on Arise TV's Morning Show that official contravention notices had been served and properties marked before the demolition commenced last Saturday.
 
He further explained that his predecessor, Tunji Bello, had issued the initial notices in 2021 for properties encroaching on the setback of the System One drainage channel in Mende Villa, Maryland. Additional notices were distributed in November 2023. Wahab questioned, “If there were no notices, why then has the Developer been corresponding with us and submitting documents over the past month?”
 
Wahab praised the efficiency of the Lagos Civil Service, stating, “We have the best brains, and they are meticulous about not jeopardizing their careers through improper processes. We’ve reviewed this process thoroughly because we've given ample notice over the last two and a half years, and the necessity of the dredging was never contested.”
 
He emphasized the commitment to truth and effective governance, stating, “We must leave out emotions and sentiments. The truth is notices were served, and while the developers were in communication with the government, they wanted to have their cake and eat it too.”
 
Additionally, Wahab highlighted adjustments made by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who reduced the right-of-way from 140 meters to 100 meters, adjusting the spread to a 60/40 division between Mende and Ogudu, as opposed to it solely impacting the Mende side.
 
“I personally visited the site. Had I intended any mischief, I wouldn't have done so. But I felt obliged to explain that even the governor agreed to this reduction,” he added.
 
Wahab reiterated that the demolition notices were issued twice and encouraged those feeling aggrieved to seek legal redress. He acknowledged that the actions might have caused some distress but maintained that the notices were served as early as 2021 and were known to the representative of the area.
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The Lagos State Government conducted the demolition on Saturday to reclaim the Right of Way for the Odo-Iya Alaro channel, impacting parts of the Arowojobe and Mende Estate villa. Wahab discussed this on his X account, detailing his and other officials' visit to oversee the ongoing drainage setback reclamation.
 
This demolition has drawn significant public criticism, with concerns about the impact on real estate investment in the state. Notably, Nigerian singer Yemi Alade voiced her dismay, arguing that the government's actions could undermine trust in the state's real estate market and leave many homeless.
In recent months, similar demolitions have occurred in Lekki, Ikota, the International Trade Fair, Agungi, and other areas of the state, attributed to the illegal positioning of buildings, as stated by the Director of Public Affairs at the Ministry of Environment, Kunle Adeshina. He emphasized that these demolitions are intended to mitigate perennial flooding issues that have led to significant property damage and fatalities.
Source: PunchNG
 

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