By Yinka Kolawole
The Lagos State government has compiled a list of more than 115 abandoned properties in Ikoyi and Victoria Island and directed owners of the buildings/structures to take physical possession of such properties to ensure they are completed, restored and fit for habitation within 90 days or face prosecution.
The directive is contained in a document, sighted by Vanguard, signed by Mr. Tunji Bello, Secretary to the State Government (SSG). He noted that squatters, miscreants and criminal elements have taken over the abandoned properties where they perpetrate criminal activities thus depriving resident of these areas of security, peace and serenity hitherto identified with the areas.
In the accompanying statement, the SSG stated: “The attention of the Lagos State Government has been drawn to the growing number of abandoned buildings/structures in Ikoyi and Victoria Island which has constituted environmental hazard and posed serious security threat to lives and property, in contravention of Lagos State Laws.
“In order to get rid of squatters, miscreants and criminal elements who sought refuge in abandoned structures out of Ikoyi and Victoria Island, the Lagos State Government has identified and compiled the under listed properties for necessary remedial action by Owners/Developers.
This step became necessary in view of the fact that the activities of these criminals are depriving these areas and the good citizens of security, peace and serenity which is hitherto one of the characteristics of the area. In view of the foregoing, Owners /Developers of such and similar buildings/structures are given 90 days’ notice from the date of this publication to take physical possession to ensure that such properties are completed, restored and fit for habitation.
Please note that failure to comply would result in enforcement of the relevant provision of the law.”
Recall that the Lagos State government set up a Task Force on Clean-up of Ikoyi, Lekki and Victoria Island with a view to enforcing the original master plan of the areas.
Bello, who is also the chairman of the task force, disclosed that the state government “has already identified such buildings and will communicate with the owners to dislodge the illegal occupants before taking measures which may include revocation of the Certificate of Occupancy of such structures.”
He said the task force would not hesitate “to seek the invocation of the provision of the State Parks and Garden Law, 2011 as it affects landscaping and beautification of such properties.”
Under the law, owners of structures harbouring squatters or those who converted their structures to hotels and provided shelters to street traders who commit crimes under the cover of darkness are liable to prosecution that may attract a jail term of six months imprisonment or a fine of N250,000 or both.
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By Yinka Kolawole