Lagos residents panic over distressed three -storeyed building
Residents of Atiko and environs, off Adeniji Adele Road, Lagos Island, have cried out over the ongoing renovation of a distressed three-storeyed building at 25 Atiko Street.
The building was reportedly built on swampy land and had been marked as distressed by the Lagos State Building Control Agency in August 2015, forcing its occupants to vacate it.
Punch correspondent, who visited the area on Wednesday, saw some of the marks on the building wall, with an inscription, ‘Danger’, written on the wall near the entrance. Bricklayers were also seen working on the house.
It was learnt that a developer in charge of the building started its renovation in November, claiming that the Lagos State Material Testing Laboratory, LSMTL, had carried out investigations into the structure and had okayed it.
Dwellers, who spoke with PUNCH Metroalleged that some government officials had been compromised and called for the demolition of the house to avert a repeat of the tragedy that struck in Lekki on March 8.
A resident, who did not want his name in print for fear of being attacked, said the developer handling the building was influential and must have used his influence before embarking on the rehabilitation.
The resident, who lives close to the distressed building, urged the government to intervene, adding that the structure portended danger to neighbours and unsuspecting prospective tenants.
He said, “The building has sunk. It was marked in August 2015 and the owners were told to demolish it.
“In November, the developer in charge of it brought some bricklayers and they started plastering its cracked walls.
“I think the developer has a connection in Alausa (state secretariat) to have embarked on the renovation.”
The former Chairman of the Community Development Association, Alhaji Fatai Olateju, said he believed that the house had become a death trap after it sunk. He added that he was shocked when the developer started the renovation.
Olateju, who spoke in Yoruba, said, “The house was built on swampy land. It sunk and it has been like that for some years now. It was marked for demolition last year by the government and all the tenants moved out. We were surprised when the contractor started the renovation.
“In the cause of renovating it, they may cover up some structural defects that can endanger lives. We don’t want a repeat of what happened in Lekki here. The best thing is for the government to demolish it for the safety of lives and property.”
The CDA Chairman, Mr. Shakiru Agoro, toldPUNCH Metro that he had reported the situation to the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency, but had yet to see any action.
“We have reported to LASEPA about two weeks ago and they promised to come here and stop the work, but we have not seen them,” he said.
When our correspondent entered the building, he met a man, who identified himself as the developer. He said he got an approval from the state government to continue with the renovation.
The developer, who declined to give his name, said, “We have done all the necessary things to be done at Alausa, backed with documents – building test, the condition of the land and other things have been perfected at Alausa.
“The building was initially marked distressed, but we have made the necessary corrections.
“Before a renovation like this could be allowed, there must be testing by LSMTL. They have done the testing since last year and certified it good and the result has been sent to Alausa. I have the documents.”
However, calls made to LASEPA rang out, while a text message sent to the telephone had yet to be replied to as of press time.
The spokesperson for LSMTL, Afuwape Ayodele, said he was not aware of any approval on the renovation of the building as claimed by the developer.
He promised to make some checks and get back to our correspondent on Monday (today).
He said, “I will check the information in our record and get back to you. But once a building is marked, it is wrong to embark on its renovation.”