The Lagos State Government through the State Building Control Agency has commenced the removal of shops and shanties built on roads and setbacks within the Lagos Island Business District.
The exercise is aimed at creating easy access to high rising buildings and offices in the area especially during emergency periods and also to create link roads for vehicular movement to decongest traffic situations in the area.
The state Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Oluyinka Olumide who spoke to media correspondents in his office about the removal exercise noted that it is long overdue for the State Government to open up access roads and streets within the Lagos Island Business District for easy access by rescue operators during emergency situations.
He disclosed that the removal of shanties and illegal shops built on access points leading to high rise buildings and offices which is a continuous exercise will be extended to other parts of the State in line with the mega city status as envisaged by Mr. Governor.
In his words, “shanties and makeshift shops have no place in the THEMES PLUS agenda of Mr. Governor and therefore are not allowed anymore in markets as the government has provided designated markets, shops and outlets for traders to do their business instead of coming onto the roads. All corridors leading to commercial and residential high rise buildings across the state have to be cleared to allow for emergency services at all times”.
He further disclosed that the state government is fully committed to the total regeneration and renewal of urban areas to meet the mega status of Lagos State.
Dr. Olumide disclosed that the mandilas building gutted by fire over the weekend will have to undergo a structure integrity test to ascertain its habitable status before it can be re-open for public use.
Speaking also on the removal exercise, the General Manager of the State Building Control Agency, Arc Gbolahan Oki decried the negative impact the age long practice of blocking of roads and street by traders has on easy movement of vehicles and inability of emergency services deployed during critical situations to function and have easy access to where they are needed.
He noted with dismay the ugly situation which continuously plays out whenever there are fire outbreaks within the markets on the island business districts as fire trucks find it extremely difficult to get to their target to deploy firefighting equipment in those areas.
In his words, “it is very unfortunate that traders and shop owners have taken over major roads and streets blocking easy movement of vehicles within the markets, we cannot fold our alms and allow this ugly situation go unchecked.
“Lagos state government is taking the bull by the horns by removing all shops and shanties impeding the free flow of vehicular movement within these axes. We are giving shop owners in other adjoining streets to the ‘Mandilas building’ one week grace period to salvage their wares and goods from such offending shops as the state government has resolved to clean up the area”.
Arc. Oki while noting that several warning earlier given by government to owners of shops erected on streets and roads have not been obeyed, he advice them to take advantage of the grace period given to remove their wares instead of flying the ethnic kites that only business interest of some ethnic group is being targeted as government is resolute this time to ensure that shops on the roads and street are remove and sanity return to the markets.