Lagos State Government has said the demolition of 13 residential buildings at Rockview Street, Ajao Estate, occurred because they were illegally constructed along fuel pipelines.
The houses which were close to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport did not have planning permits before they were built.
This was revealed by General Manager, Lagos State Building Control Agency, LASBCA, Gbolahan Oki, during a press briefing on Friday.
According to Oki, the buildings did not have the required approvals and were sited around Airport restricted areas while some are cited on aviation fuel pipelines.
Oki, who described the situation as a disaster waiting to happen, expressed fear of a possible fire outbreak from the pipeline in future which he said could result in loss of lives and properties.
He said the builders also lacked the necessary documents as approvals for construction in that area.
According to the LASBCA boss, the buildings were illegally constructed out of clear disregard for the requirements of extant laws.
He said, “Nobody in his right thinking mind will go and buy a plot on a pipeline and build on the pipeline.”
He stated that due consultations and communications have been made with enough time off over eight years, 2016, given to the occupants of the affected buildings to evacuate the structures.
Oki lamented over the spate of building collapse in Lagos, blaming it on basically, “attitudinal problem.”
He described the buildings on the land as a “National risk” to the airport being “extremely close”, stressing that “no life of a Nigerian is worth being lost to the dangers that the siting of the buildings pose.”
Moreso, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has ordered all illegal occupants to relocate from all airport lands for their own safety and security.
FAAN General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Faithful Hope-Ivbaze, in a statement, said the recent demolition of 13 houses posed dangers to the operations of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos State.
“The occupants of these buildings were duly notified of the impending demolitions and intensive awareness campaign through “stop work” markings and the planting of notice boards within the Red Zone,” Hope-Ivbaze said.
“In September 2022, FAAN wrote to LASG for their cooperation in conducting this exercise in the interest of Aviation and Communal Safety and Security.
“The removal of illegal structures is also scheduled to be carried out at all other airports that have similar challenges.”
Hope-Ivbaze explained that the area of land currently housing the airport was acquired for public use by the federal government through the lands acquisition ordinance by the government official gazettes in 1944, 1972, and 1975, respectively.
She noted that FAAN noticed some encroachments within its acquired land and a committee was set up to investigate and compel those encroaching to cease and desist from such actions sometime in the year 2000.
“The committee thus put up “Caveat Emptors” and positioned them strategically within the areas under encroachment( they are still in place),” Hope-Ivbaze said.
“Publications were done in national dailies and advertorial jingles in local radio stations, warning people of the risks in purchasing and building on Restricted Aviation Land without consideration to the direct dangers on aircraft operations and the building occupants themselves.”
According to her, in 2008, “some residents of the Ajao axis of the encroached land, under the aegis of runview cooperative” approached the Authority for regularisation of their stay on the land.
She disclosed that the committee was charged with finding ways of identifying and regularising only those properties located in positions that do not pose direct and critical challenges to airport safety and security.
“To avoid a situation of wanton damage and colossal losses, the present administration, on assuming office, inaugurated a regularisation committee on FAAN encroached lands and property,” Hope-Ivbaze said.
“The FAAN directorates of Airport Operations and Aviation Security commenced stakeholders’ engagements and met severally with the residents of the Ajao axis (all meetings recorded and filed), bringing to their knowledge the dangers of erecting houses on pipelines, waterways, and the airport’s perimeter fence( blocking access for security patrols).
“Most of the residents cooperated, except for the few who ignored and continued erecting their structures in the red zone.”
Hope-Ivbaze also noted that in the committee’s report submitted in 2022, out of 254 buildings evaluated, 220 buildings were recommended for regularisation as they pose no direct/critical security or safety challenges to the airport.
She added that the 34 others that were built within FAAN’s perimeter fence and mostly erected above the aviation fuel pipeline and waterways, clearly posing direct safety and security challenges to the airport and to their owners, and occupants themselves, were marked for demolition.