We are not afraid to enforce our environmental laws – LASG

Lagos State Government on Friday restated in unmistakable terms its commitment to enforce the state environmental laws to the benefit of the greater majority of residents.

The commitment was given by the State Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab when he appeared on Arise TV Breakfast programme “The Morning Show” to speak on a viral video and developments concerning removal of structures on drainage setbacks in the state.

Wahab restated that the recent removal of structures on the alignment of Odo Iya Alaro River in Mende Villa Estate, Soluyi, Ifako, Arowojobe under system 1, though painful, was based on the overriding public interest.

He explained that contravention notices have been served on the property owners as far back as 2021 with different levels of consultation taking place between the state and property owners and the representative of the area in the State Assembly with the last one held last November.

He said the property developer and the executives of the residents association of the estate met with the State Government severally but failed to relate the outcomes of such meetings to their members.

Wahab said governance is not a tea party but about taking very painful decisions which will ultimately benefit the majority, urging cynics to wait till 2027 for politicking as now is the time for governance.

He explained that the System 1 drainage channel midstream (Odo Iya Alaro) which cut across Ogudu, Ojota, Ifako, Gbagada, Maryland and Ojota with a setback of 140 metres has now been reduced to 100 metres by Mr. Governor to reduce collateral damages.

He stressed that the original dimension was 140 metres for the setback but the State Government has decided to put a human face to the enforcement process by moving 60 metres to the Ogudu/Maryland section and 40 metres to the Ogudu/Odo Iyaloro section which is now makes it 100 metres.

He further explained that his team didn’t just sit back in the office but came out and saved about eight houses at Arowojobe based on the reviewed setback and humanitarian consideration for the property owners.

He said that the bridge being constructed by Julius Berger across Maryland to Opebi will affect all the contravening buildings if not removed and will also cause major flooding.

According to him, most times, developers get approvals but build beyond the approved limits and this is the case of Mende. They got approval for 28 units and built 38 units and the facts are there to be verified.

Wahab warned that climate change is real and that every responsible government must build resilient infrastructure to protect the people as the State Government is presently doing.

He cited the sad example of Kenya where the ravages of flooding and climate change have led to the loss of over 250 lives at the last count, stressing that failure to act precisely may precipitate disaster when it rains.

Speaking on possible compensations for some of the property owners, Wahab affirmed that each request will be considered on its merit which is at the discretion of Mr. Governor based on the recommendations of the State Executive Council.

“Compensation is not a right for properties on drainage setbacks, As a state, I know how much the government has given out to residents of Ilasan, Jakande. I won’t mention figures but over 2000 people have been compensated. Squatters and not allottees are given money to relocate. That is a government that has shown empathy”, he stated.

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