The Lagos State Government has commenced the manual demolition of buildings marked on Freeman street at the Ita Faji area of Lagos Island.
This follows the collapse of a three-storey building on Massey street in the same area.
Acting General Manager of the State Building Control Agency, Omotayo Fakolujo, told Channels Television that officials were acting based on the governor’s directives.
He explained that most owners of some illegal structures were evading arrest despite disobeying the government’s order.
“I can say that the owners and tenants are recalcitrant, in as much as we try to evict them, they continue to evade arrest and go through the back door and we feel that this structure might go down as soon as possible and that is why we have to bring it down today.
“His excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has given a directive to go ahead and remove over 80 structures in Lagos island before the end of the month and we are doing them in phases and today, we are removing three and I assure you that life would be better for Lagosians and the security and safety of Lagosians is eminent in the heart of the governor.
“There is a lot of legal tussle that relates to demolition. For this one, we just had a clearance from the court last week we are moving to smith, palm church and adeniji adele where we have marked over 20 structures for demolition.
Fakolujo stressed further that the government was also trying to evacuate occupants of most of the structures about to collapse.
The building caved in on March 13, killing about nine people, while about 50 were rescued.
This comes after Governor Akinwunmi Ambode had during an assessment tour to the site, vowed to demolish all illegal school buildings in the area.
He made the pledge on Wednesday while responding to concerns raised by some residents on the increase in illegal schools when he visited the scene of a building collapse.
The building said to be 30 years caved in at about 9:45 am, raising fears for the lives of the hundreds of inhabitants, mostly children who are pupils of a school located on the top floor of the building.
“So far, from what I have been briefed, we have rescued about 25 people and some are already dead but we were earlier informed that it was a school, the building is not technically a school, it is a residential building that was actually accommodating an illegal school so to speak on the second floor.
“Like we have said, we have been carrying out a lot of integrity tests on the buildings in this neighborhood and as you can see, some of them have been marked for demolition but we get resistance from landlords but we must continue to save lives and we would intensify our efforts to see that those have failed our integrity test, we would ensure that they are quickly evacuated and we bring the structures down,” he said.
24 hours after the incident occurred, the rescue agencies say they have reached ‘ground zero’ on the site, meaning that all the rubbles had been excavated and there was no evidence that anyone was still trapped.