Lagos Commissioner Of Urban Development, Physical Planning Briefs Media On Ministry’s Activities (Full Text)

Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning & Urban Development, TPL. Toyin Ayinde (midle), the Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Raji (right) and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Physical Planning & Urban Development, Arch. (Mrs.) Oluwatoyin Ajayi (left) during the Y2014 Ministerial Press briefing to commemorate the third year, second term of Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa, Ikeja, on Tuesday, May 20, 2014.

INTRODUCTION

It gives me a good sense of responsibility and call to duty to be here today to give an account of our performance yet again after the last briefing, held on 21st May 2013. This is in tandem with the strong conviction of His Excellency, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, (SAN), the Governor of Lagos State in rendering an account of stewardship to the citizens of the state from time to time. Such openness and high level of dedication are characteristic only of a true democrat and a leader of great repute as epitomized in His Excellency. We therefore thank the Almighty God for the gift of life and for guiding us to impact positively on physical planning and urban development of the State.

BACKGROUND

The importance of the Ministry in ordering and re-ordering the landscape of the State is overwhelming.  It ensures the integration, harmonization and co-ordination of public and private developments, taking due cognizance of natural and cultural forces. Hence, it has consistently and persistently focused on:

(i) Re-building Lagos as a Model City State.
(ii) Pursuing Systematic Physical Planning for Sustainable Development
(iii) Developing reliable database for Physical Planning, and
(iv.) Providing enhanced partnership for inclusive governance in view of the spectacular nature of the physical and socio-economic features of the state.


FACTS THAT MAKE PLANNING OF LAGOS MEGACITY COMPELLING

The Lagos Megacity is strikingly 22.5 million this year with a growth rate of
3.2% (Lagos State Bureau of Statistics). This population is concentrated on a landmass of 3,577 km2; constituting only 0.4% of the nation’s landmass, and a population density of about 20 persons per square meter, while growing at 600,000 persons per annum (10 times that of New York).
Strategically, the State remains the engine room of Nigeria’s development.  It is the industrial, commercial and financial hub of the Nation with the following attributes:
Consumes 45% of the petroleum products in the country.
40% of Bank branches are located in Lagos
40% of Telecom subscribers are in the state
Accountable for 50% PHCN power transmission
80% of international travels etc.

The above collectively impose other demands on the state, hence the need for physical planning to guide and regulate its development.

OPERATIVE DEVELOPMENT PLANS (ODP)

The Ministry during the last 12 months continued in the preparation of Development Plans. These included higher order and lower order plans which ultimately ensure order, beauty and convenience. Significantly, both levels of plans will open a new vista in investment opportunities, which will enhance:
Multi-modal Transportation
Private Estate Development
Integrated Human Settlement
Development of smaller cities within the larger city
Entertainment City
Exhibition City
Iconic Complexes, etc.
International Airport, etc.

Let me state that investors in various sectors have been approaching the Ministry and other relevant MDAs. This is the advantage that physical planning affords when effectively done. Without mincing words, with all the Operative Development Plans, the vision of Lagos being Africa’s Model Megacity is gradually unfolding.
Specifically, the Ministry worked on, and completed three development plans. One of such is the recently completed review of Ikoyi-
Victoria Island Model City Plan. The review became necessary in order to respond positively to the physical, demographic, cultural and socio-economic dynamism prevalent in the State. The final draft of the review is proposed for final public presentation in a few weeks from now.
Further efforts led to the completion of the Apapa Model City Plan and Agege- Ifako Ijaiye Model City Plan. The Apapa Model City Plan was presented to the Executive Council this year and was approved while the Agege / Ifako Ijaiye final plan was presented at an impressive and overwhelming Stakeholders’ Forum held on Wednesday, 16th May, 2014 for comments and final input.

DELIVERY OF RIGHT OF WAY (ROW) AND ALIGNMENT

During the period under review, the Ministry embarked on the establishment of the various Right Of Way for transportation routes and utilities such as Gas, Electricity, Petroleum, Water, Telecommunications and other services.  The task was undertaken to ensure safety of lives and properties, easy transportation of people, goods and services in the State. The Ministry, apart from establishing the various Right of Ways, also facilitated the removal of encumbrances along the alignments.
In the same vein we sensitized the public on the need to stay clear of the right of ways by placing advertorials early this year in some National Dailies,  showing sketches of the utilities/infrastructure and the required setbacks. This is to ensure that projects are implemented with minimum discomfort.

REGENERATION/UPGRADING

The Ministry continued its upgrading and regeneration drive of parts of Lagos Island. In 2013, we reported the progress made on the Isalegangan Regeneration project which was then at the first floor level being prepared for casting. Twelve months after, we are at the ninth floor level. It is an eleven-floor complex which we hope will be completed before the next Ministerial Press Briefing.
Appreciable progress was equally made on the redevelopment plan of part of Princess, Old Aroloya and Anikantamo Streets, Lagos Island. We have coded this project, “Isalegangan Phase II”. Several stakeholders’ meetings were held which have led to the conclusion of the resettlement plans for the participating families. The project when completed would improve the socio-economic profile of the Community. Plans are being concluded on the Regeneration of the Ojo Giwa/Okoya Street axis.
Perhaps our most recent success is in the Redevelopment Plan for Dolphin Estate Phases I – IV Adeniji Adele. The Lagos State Government has been in a long discussion with the Stakeholders over the years to the extent that it had been taken as a project that will never manifest. However, the unrelenting efforts of the Lagos State Urban Renewal Agency (LASURA) led to further engagement with the residents, and their studies showed that the Phase I Extension area was available for the take-off of the programme. I am pleased to announce that we were able to get the sign-off of the Stakeholders, and I crave your indulgence to read the text message forwarded to me by the Chairman Residents Association Phases I-IV, Adeniji Adele:

“Honourable Commissioner sir, on behalf of the executive and entire members of the representative council of Dolphin Anikantamo Adeniji Adele Residents Association, express our profound appreciation to His Excellency, the Governor of Lagos State, yourself, the General Manager of LASURA and his team for your prompt action in salvaging the lives of the 30 families that occupy the 5 blocks of flats at Phase I Extension of the housing estate. Words are inadequate in expressing how grateful we are. Our prayer is that the Almighty God will continue to protect, guide and bless the entire members of your families all the days of your life. Thank you and God bless you. A formal letter will follow. F.O.K. Sanya, Chairman”
Just before I dispense with the issue of regeneration, let me report that appreciable progress has been made on the relocation of the Okobaba Sawmilling Industry from Ebute-Metta to Agbowa in Ikosi- Ejinrin LCDA. It is our flagship regeneration project which is multi-dimensional in impact. First, it makes room for the development of a new city in Agbowa and its environs that will catalyze growth and thus bring about an increase in real estate value. Secondly, it provides a specialization center for wood related industry. Thirdly, it paves way for the clean-up of the entire Okobaba-Makoko axis, ultimately allowing for the regeneration of the highly valued waterfront ambience. Indeed, the jungle of Agbowa is being transformed into a city. To date, 100 Band saw sheds are at various levels of completion, 150 sales offices at various levels of completion, Shoreline protection is 60% completed while sand filling works is making appreciable progress with more than 70% done.

MARKET DEVELOPMENT

The Ministry facilitated the development of Market and Commercial activities in the State. Plans to relocate the Mile 12 and Ajelogo Markets to the proposed Ikorodu Regional Food Stuff Commodities Market, at Parafa Ikorodu are not off our drawing board. The delay of most Government projects (this inclusive) is partly due to the penchant for violation and encroachment of Government acquired and committed parcels of land for overriding public interest. At some point in the journey of our collective development, we must decide who takes priority, a handful of the community, or the larger community.

In addition, the process of relocation of Computer Village from Ikeja to Oke-Odo (Gatankowa) is still alive as we are finalizing discussions with some of the Stakeholders before implementation begins.

EVALUATION AND CLEARANCE (BUILDING PLAN APPROVAL)

The Ministry recorded significant achievements in the area of building plan processing through its agency, Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPPA) by granting approval to a total of 2,067 applications. To further improve service delivery, pre-screening of applications before submission and payment of statutory processing fees was introduced. This measure I must be quick to say has helped tremendously to reduce the unnecessary clogging of stillborn applications and prevent avoidable losses.
In the same vein clearance was issued on 215 applications for Physical Planning Technical Report out of 241 submitted, 27 are still under processing, while 2 were rejected for non-compliance with Town Planning Standards. (These figures include 3 applications received from the previous year). It will interest you to note also that during the period under review, for ease of reference, the list of Development Permits (Building Plan Approval) granted from year 2007 to June 2013, was published in the Lagos State Official Gazette and two National Dailies including Alausa Alert, details of which are available in the Ministry and the Agency (LASPPPA).

LOCAL PLANS

The Ministry processed and approved various layout plans for both Private and Public estates. Out of 28 layout applications received, 14 were granted Provisional Approval, 7 obtained Final Approval while 7 applications remain under processing. However, this does not include 33 layout applications received from Lands Bureau Committee on Village Excision which are being treated on their own merit; while in-house preparation of Development Plans for Excised Villages such as Oloti, Badore, Awoyaya and Ajangbadi continued unabated.

BUILDING CONTROL: MONITORING AND ENFORCEMENT

The Building Control Agency, compared with the other two agencies, is new but gradually finding its feet.  In the last one year, a total of seven thousand, two hundred and eighty-one (7281) structures were identified and served with contravention notices, two hundred and thirty-two (232) buildings were identified as being defective while one thousand, nine hundred and thirty-nine (1939) buildings were sealed for non-compliance but three hundred and ninety-five (395) were later unsealed after compliance and sixteen (16) structures were removed. During monitoring, a total of ninety four (94) seals were discovered broken by some recalcitrant Developers, but resealed with further sanctions. Every machinery has been put in place to prosecute such erring Developers.
A total of 14 buildings that collapsed during the period under review due to incidences of Fire and structural defects were promptly removed and the rubbles carted away. Let me at this point deeply appreciate the efforts of some whistle blowers whose efforts helped in no small measure to save many lives and reduce the incidence of some imminent collapse. Their whistle blowing came in the way of Short Message Service (SMS), e-mails and telephone calls. We will continue to welcome every contribution and suggestions that will add value to our environment.

CONSTRUCTIVE ENGAGEMENT OF STAKEHOLDERS

The Ministry’s inclination to embark on constructive engagement of stakeholders is borne out of the fact that:
It is part of planning process.
It is a democratic process.
Power belongs to the people.
It affords better understanding, sharing of ideas and sense of belonging.
In view of the above the Ministry organized various fora, symposia and stakeholder sessions in the last one year. Some of these include:
Stakeholders and Management of Private Estates in Eti-Osa in July 3rd 2013.
Stakeholders meeting in Ibeju Lekki January 29th ,2014
Town Hall meeting in Ikorodu 6th March, 2014.
Stakeholders Meeting in Dolphin Estate Lagos Island April 10th, 2014.
Alongside the constructive engagement of stakeholders by the Ministry, I am delighted to State that the Ministry has particularly enjoyed heartwarming media relations. This has largely been facilitated by the Ministry of information and Strategy, and our reliable Correspondents in the Built Environment, both electronic and print.
It would therefore be a mark of ingratitude not to appreciate The Honourable Commissioner, The Permanent Secretary and Management staff of the Ministry of information and Strategy for their unwavering support and, of course, not forgetting also the Lagos Governor’s Office Correspondents (LAGOCO).

OTHER SERVICES AND ACTIVITIES
SYNERGY WITH OTHER MDAs

The Ministry during the period under review collaborated with other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) especially Transport, Rural Development, Housing, Health, Environment, Agriculture, Commerce and Industry, Works and Infrastructure, Youth and Sports, Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Lands Bureau,  Science and Technology and Education in order to forge ahead and achieve a livable Lagos Mega City of our dreams.
        (ii)      CABLE CAR
This is another effort of Government in multimodal transportation development. It is designed to facilitate public transportation, complementing other modes. Presently a total of 22 locations have been identified for both Station and Towers. It is important to report that the project promoters have taken possession of all identified sites for construction works to take place.
        (iii) CCTV CAMERA INSTALLATION
The Ministry in conjunction with the Ministry of Police Affairs facilitated the installation of 1000 CCTV cameras in strategic locations in the state. Following that exercise, the State Government has also indicated plans to ramp up on the project. The Ministry has therefore identified some black spots and other sensitive areas proposed for surveillance and monitoring. These efforts are designed to underpin enhanced crime prevention mechanism in the State.
      (iv)INVENTORY OF EVENT CENTRES
The Ministry studied and evaluated the adequacy or otherwise of some of the existing Event Centres in the State and, hence, came up with the following basic planning requirements
Adequate parking facilities for ingress and egress
Physically-challenged friendly in terms of their basic needs e.g. parking, entrance ramp and toilet facilities.
Adequate Toilet facilities
Effective Traffic Management
Provision of adequate gangways within the premises, sound proof hall, etc.
Provision of Close Circuit Television (CCTV)

     (v)   PLANNING INFORMATION
The Ministry provided Planning Information on Development Guidelines on applications submitted with a view to granting developers/ owners the status of their land in terms of approvable use, maximum height, density, etc. The Planning Guidelines assist Real Estate investors in deciding on appropriate areas of investment, and thus curbing uncoordinated development.

Suffice to say that during this period under review, a total of 230 applications for planning information were received and 120 have been concluded, 57 are still under processing while 53 are without documents.
The Planning Information process has been facilitated by the Geographic Information System (GIS). GIS remains a veritable tool in the area of:
Priority site selection
Spatial coverage and needs analysis
Mapping and upgrading
Land suitability analysis, etc.

    (vi)ARCHIVAL AND RETRIEVAL OF APPROVALS
The Ministry’s effort to ensure update of records and retrieval of information on old approved building files has continued with the scanning, electronic storage and archival of the plans. To enhance the process, steel racks have been appropriately designed to accommodate the scanned documents for safe storage. To date 41,451 files have been scanned, representing documents for 18 of 20 LASPPPA Districts. Another 8,549 files already scanned are awaiting quality assurance to conclude the process.
    (vii)CAPACITY BUILDING
The Ministry in conjunction with the Ministry of Establishment, Pensions & Training and Public Service Staff Development Centre (PSSDC) trained different cadres of staff. There was a one-day Enlightenment Programme for the Honorable Commissioner, Permanent Secretary and Management on the application of Geographic Information System (GIS) to mark the World GIS day.  As we speak, there is an e-charting training for some officers on Grade Levels 08 – 12 of the Ministry going on at PSSDC, Magodo. The training, expected to be a ‘Training the Trainers’ (TOT) model is designed to sharpen the skills of the above cadre of officers.
    (viii)INNOVATION
To enhance the entire physical planning and documentation process, the Ministry is at present exploring the use of the spatial location based application software (SLBA). It is designed to implement sustainable planning model development, reduce human errors in building approval processes, and enhance relative search engine with various indices.

CONCLUSION
As I bring this account of stewardship to an end, I cannot but underscore the tremendous support of His Excellency, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) whose visionary leadership has challenged the thinking process of the Ministry, and gingered us to realize that “WORK IS FUN”. Permit me to acknowledge the cooperation we enjoyed from professionals in the Built Environment, as well as other stakeholders of equal repute. We are especially grateful to some of the Financial Institutions, Real Estate Developers and friends of the Ministry whose support and sponsorship aided the success of some of our programmes like the World Habitat Day.
On a final note, I wish to specifically thank the gentlemen of the press once again for the effective coverage of all our events. But for your support most of our efforts would have amounted to winking in the dark. We will continue to strive hard to meet public expectation while we rely on the support of everybody, believing that together we will build a virile megacity of our dream. Our hope in the year ahead is for better performance to ensure that we do not only finish well, but finish strong.
I thank you all for listening. Eko o ni baje o!


Toyin Ayinde fnitp

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