LASG serves stop-work order on Magodo green-belt buildings

Officials from the Drainage Enforcement and Compliance Unit of the Lagos State Ministry of Environment on Thursday visited the flood-prone green belt between the Magodo Phase 1 and Phase 2 housing schemes to serve a stop-work order on the owners of buildings under construction on the setback of the green belt.

During the visit, the officials, including Samson Bankole, Moses Ogunlabi, Remi Yusuf, Olayinka Tijani and Balogun Odedina, were seen marking buildings that were constructed on the setback of the green belt, located in a vast gorge separating Magodo GRA Phases 1 and 2, in the Ikosi-Isheri Local Council Development Area of the state.

The team lead, Bankole, while carrying out the order, said the buildings were on a floodplain, adding that the whole area was a gorge reserved for heavy downpour.

“It is not right for a building to be located here; this building is already tilting. We have given them a contravention notice before because the building under construction is on a floodplain and it shouldn’t be there. This place is reserved for heavy downpour.

“When we saw a fault in this building that is being constructed on the setback, we gave them issues and brought a letter for them to stop working. When next we come back here, it will be something that you won’t like and not to talk of those that want to build right where the canal is,” Bankole said.

PUNCH Metro had reported that the Gateway Zone Community Development Association had raised the alarm over the alleged plan by a consortium of land-grabbers, a company and traditional authorities to convert the green belt, which is always flooded during the rainy season, to a housing estate.

However, public outcry against the project propelled officials from the state Ministry of Environment and the New Town Development Authority to investigate the allegation by visiting the site, where some of the workers were arrested.

Reacting to a petition to the state House of Assembly by the counsel for the promoters of the project, the Chairman, House Committee on Lands, Adedamola Kasumu, and two other members, Temitope Adewale and Ganiyu Sanni; the former acting General-Manager, Adenrele Oni, and other relevant government agencies visited the site, where Oni stressed that the site was a wetland and that building an estate on it would have environmental impacts.

Indications emerged on Wednesday that the Lagos State Government, which was initially against the building of the estate on the green belt, was under pressure to grant approval to the estate promoters despite concerns expressed by government’s environmental and building experts.

Government sources had told our correspondent that the developers were being backed by some members of the Land Committee of the state House of Assembly and the acting Chairman of the NTDA, Kunle Aboyeji.

The sources said the Lagos State House of Assembly might have given the promoters the green light to go ahead with the project without recourse to relevant state agencies and ministries in charge of building and estate developments.

The Chairman, Gateway Zone Community Development Association, Bode Ojomu, had urged the state Governor,, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to intervene in the case, explaining that the action of the lawmakers during the inspection was premeditated.

He added that the case was a judicial issue and not a legislative matter.

When asked about the NTDA’s position after officials from the Ministry of Environment visited the green belt, Aboyeji said, “Go to our public relations officer because I am not around.”

The state Commissioner for Environment, Tunji Bello, said, “The Ministry of Environment is concerned about protecting our green belt areas. Once we get a notice of encroachment into any of such areas as delineated, our enforcement unit will move in to do the needful. That was what the drainage enforcement unit went to do. The absence of monitoring and enforcement of such areas in the past four years has led to a lot of encroachment.”

Efforts to get a reaction from Kasumu proved abortive, as several calls and messages to his phone were not responded to.


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