Lagos State Government has demolished houses belonging to Igbo people around the Ebute Meta area in Lagos Mainland Local Governmnet. One of the destroyed buildings belongs to an Igbo traditional ruler based in the area.
The demolition was carried out by the Building Control Agency on Tuesday. They demolished what the state government described as a defective two-storey building on Freeman Street, while it shut 15 others on Herbert Macaulay, Oloto and Market streets in Ebute Meta, Lagos Mainland Local Government.
Among the houses sealed off and marked for demolition were the Palace of the Eze Benard Orjika (Okpoko 1) and two buildings opposite the house of a lawmaker representing Lagos Mainland Constituency, Mr. Alao Owolabi.
It was gathered that the demolished building belonging to Okpoko 1, which had about 36 rooms, was built 40 years ago.
General Manager, LASBCA, Mrs. Abimbola Animashaun, explained that the building was demolished after it failed an integrity test conducted by the agency.
She said the occupants of the building were notified about the exercise, adding that owners of other sealed buildings should proceed to the agency’s office for advice.
She said, “We have marked 30 buildings in this area and among the buildings, five of them will be removed before the end of the week. Some of them are still waiting for the result of the integrity test from the Lagos State Material Testing Agency and definitely we will get it soon to determine further actions.
“After notifying the occupants that the building was not safe for them, they refused to vacate it. We have been here more than three times and immediately they see us, they ususally run away or hide somewhere. They should not go below the minimum standard by using inferior materials.
“We have sealed about 1,800 properties and there is no one to come and claim them. The owners are not forthcoming and if there is no one to claim them, it means we have the right to go and remove them. People should come to LASBCA, no matter the situation, to get advice. Some of them have removed our seals and they are going to be prosecuted.”
However, there was drama when residents of the Eze’s palace and that of a house located at 8, Herbert Macaulay Street, protested against sealing of their houses.
Some of the residents accused LASBCA of bias in their mode of operation, arguing that “some buildings that are defective were spared”.
A lady, who refused to vacate the Eze’s palace, said, “This is totally illegal. We have done everything required of us. We were told to conduct an integrity test and we have done that but the government refused to give us the result and receipt for our payment.”