Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, on Wednesday, 20th August, 2014, visited the Oko-Baba Sawmill and Plank Market gutted by a dawn fire on Monday, 18th August, 2014, sympathizing with the traders and residents over their losses and assuring them of government’s support in rebuilding the structures.
Governor Fashola, who commiserated with the residents over the unfortunate incident, however, said it would give the state government the opportunity to assist them in rebuilding the market adding that the sawmill operators should decide on how they want the place rebuilt so that government could render any needed assistance.
“Now, you would have heard that in the last two weeks that we are rebuilding houses in Adeniji-Adele because the houses are collapsing and the residents in the place were given money to find alternative accommodation so that when the houses are completed they would return to their homes”, he said.
According to the Governor, “Some of those with whom we had such an arrangement about five years ago in Ogba got their flats last week. So whatever you decide is what we are going to do for you. If you want to rebuild it as it was before, we shall do it for you”.
He added, “If you want us to rebuild it in block form we shall assist you, but one thing you have to bear in mind is that you have to shift backward a bit and whichever one you may decide to do, let the town planning support you in doing the layout so that the buildings will not be too close and peradventure if there is fire outbreak, it will not affect the buildings”.
Commenting on the type of structures built on the land space, Fashola said, “It is not only here that people reside in wooden houses, in America they also build with wood, but they plan it properly and it even looks attractive, if you want to build with wood it is possible but allow the experts to assist you so that we can also be proud about this place and let the whole world know that here we can plan our things perfectly by ourselves”.
Praying that such incident would never occur again in the state, the Governor implored the residents to be calm assuring them that the state Commissioners for Special Duties and Physical Planning and Urban Development would come back and hold meetings with them. “They will survey, do the layout and after all the people will sign and whatever you both agree on will be brought back to me”, he said.
Earlier in his remarks, the Baale of Okobaba community, Chief Musibau Junaid, pleaded with the Governor to allow all the residents to still remain in the area while the town planner assists them in the replanning of the area.
Also speaking, the Iyalode of the community, Alhaja Nimota Lateef Agoro, who is also the Woman Leader of Okobaba community, also pleaded with the Governor to allow the residents to remain in the place while the replanning is going on.
With the Governor on the visit were members of the State Executive Council including the state Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, TPL Olutoyin Ayinde; and his Special Duties counterpart, Dr. Wale Ahmed; Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba; and the General Manager, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr. Femi Oke Osanyintolu.