The Lagos State Government has begun the demolition of structures on the right of way to pave the way for the ongoing construction of the Pen Cinema flyover in the Agege Local Government Area of the state.
The demolition was part of the preconstruction process of the proposed Agege/Pen Cinema flyover. Several buildings standing in the right of way of the government on Oba Ogunji Road to Oke-Koto, Agege, were pulled down in the first phase of the demolition process.
Buildings standing in the right of way of the proposed flyover were marked for demolition two months ago, while property owners received notifications three months ago and another, one a week ago, about the demolition plans.
However, hundreds of property owners were caught napping yesterday morning when tractors began pulling down structures. Buildings standing within the span of 13 to 21 metres, left and right of the existing road were demolished while hundreds of other marked properties were yet to be pulled down.
Some of the affected victims said that they were given just a week notice ahead of the demolition, without the promised compensation yet to be paid by the state government.
One of them said: “The government in its notice, ordered landlords to come with their Certificates of Ownership to the state Secretariat at Alausa, but before we could bat an eyelid, caterpillars are already demolishing our homes and shops.”
Many of the shop owners were seen trying to salvage some of their property and goods from the rubble. The preconstruction process of the flyover worsened the ever-present traffic congestion on Iju Road, Oba Ogunji Road, Agege Road and Pen Cinema-Abule Egba Road.
Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) and Mizbeach, a phone outlet, had their officials move their equipment and documents to waiting trucks, which were stationed outside the demolished buildings.
Eyes red from crying, a boutique owner, Celestine Eze, said that the government gave traders just seven days’ notice, which was not enough time for an evacuation. He said: “There was a letter given to us last Monday that the landlords should bring their C of Os to the Secretariat at Alausa.
It was never stated in the notice that the demolition would be so soon. We were caught unawares. I have been picking items from the rubble since morning because my goods are trapped inside the demolished building.”
The story was, however, different for Mr. Peace Akanni, who said he was prepared for the demolition. Smiling and looking unperturbed, Akanni said the government had done enough to notify landlords.
He disclosed that the buildings to be demolished had been marked two months ago. He noted that only those who failed to take the directives seriously, were those lamenting.
The Lagos State government yesterday explained that the demolition was a process of removing structures on the right of way to pave way for the ongoing construction of the Pen Cinema flyover in Agege Local Government Area as well as other major network of roads in the state.
In a statement, the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Abiola Anifowoshe, said government had in recent time held stakeholders’ meetings with owners of properties that had to give way for the construction of the affected areas and had given assurance of adequate compensation.
He said: “Before we remove any structure in Lagos State, the state government would first hold stakeholders’ meeting with the affected property owners within their domain to obtain their buy-in and commitment towards the projects.
“Government has held meetings in all these locations and during these meetings, it allayed stakeholders’ fears and assured them that the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode would not remove any structure without following due process.”
Anifowoshe said that officials of the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development had marked all identified structures within the proposed right of way in these locations and had served all affected structures with necessary notices.