The Lagos State Building Control Agency has begun the removal of shops and shanties built on roads and setbacks within the Lagos Island Business District.
According to a statement on the Lagos State official website, the exercise was aimed at creating easy access to high-rise buildings and offices in the area, especially during emergency periods, and also creating link roads for vehicle movement to decongest traffic situations in the area.
The Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr Oluyinka Olumide, who spoke to journalists in Alausa on the exercise on Tuesday, noted that it was 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 emergencies.
He stated that the removal of shanties and illegal shops built on access points leading to high-rise buildings, and offices which were a continuous exercise would be extended to other parts of the State in line with the mega city status as envisaged by Mr. Governor.
He said, “Shanties and makeshift shops have no place in the THEMES+ 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”.
Olumide further disclosed that the state government was fully committed to the total regeneration and renewal of urban areas to meet the mega status of Lagos State, adding that the Mandilas building gutted by fire over the weekend would have to undergo a structure integrity test to ascertain its habitable status before it could be re-opened for public use.
Speaking also on the removal exercise, the General Manager of LASBCA, Gbolahan Oki, decried the negative impact the age-long practice of blocking roads and streets by traders has on the easy movement of vehicles and the inability of emergency services deployed during critical situations to function and have easy access to where they are needed.
He noted with dismay the situation that continuously plays out whenever there are fire outbreaks within the markets on the island business district as fire trucks find it extremely difficult to get to their target to deploy firefighting equipment in those areas.
“Unfortunately, traders and shop owners have taken over major roads and streets blocking the easy movement of vehicles within the markets, we cannot fold our alms and allow this ugly situation to 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”, he stated.
Oki, while noting that several warnings earlier given by the government to owners of shops erected on streets and roads had not been obeyed, advised the owners to take advantage of the grace period given to remove their wares. (Punch)