Justice is guaranteed by Alaba Traders, Stakeholders, and Committees.
Demolition exercises are done to save lives, says LASG.
The seven-man technical committee on Alaba International Market demolition, which was set up by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, has assured traders and stakeholders of justice.
The General Manager, of Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), Gbolahan Oki, who led the committee members on an assessment of the Alaba Market demolition site, disclosed this amidst protests by some affected traders.
He said the recent demolition of distressed buildings in the market located in Ojo Local Council was neither a witch hunt nor intended to acquire the land but to protect lives.
Oki, who visited the market amid a heavy downpour alongside his counterpart in the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPPA), Kehinde Osinaike, explained that the demolition was simply to enforce building regulations and laws and to prevent building collapse.
They were led on the trip by the Permanent Secretary of their parent parastatal, the Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Oluwole Sotire.
Recall that southeast leaders in the market, led by Imo Governor, Hope Uzodimma, met with Sanwo-Olu to put to rest allegations of tribal bias behind the demolition exercise.
According to him, most of the demolished buildings were without permits, and the necessary documentation demanded by the state government was also not provided.
“All we are after is that the lives of traders and other Nigerians are extremely important to the Lagos State Government.
“I have seen people painting buildings that are dilapidated and that are not good; it is not painting that makes a building new. Our lives are more important,” he said.
Oki urged owners of distressed buildings marked for demolition to remove them within two weeks to prevent disaster, or else the government would move in to take action.
“My mandate is to remove anything that is dilapidated and harmful to the people that even own it,” he said.
The General Manager said Sanwo-Olu has set up a committee to look into the demolition without causing disaffection among the traders at Alaba International Market.
He said LASBCA officials were usually prevented from enforcing laws by people who failed to get building plan approvals or those who did illegal conversions of their properties.
He assured protesters carrying placards that the government had their interests covered with the appointment of an additional 17-man sub-committee, compromising their market leadership, for quicker resolution of issues.
Oki explained why distressed buildings were being demolished and the need for some of the traders to regularise.
He said this was because of issues with land grabbers selling one land to several people as well as the need to correct haphazard development.
Earlier, the general manager and his team had a meeting with the leadership of the Alaba International Market traders at the LASBCA head office in Ikeja before they all embarked on the trip to the market.
During the meeting, the market leaders who are members of the seven-man technical committee set up to look into the issues of demolition in Alaba International Market discussed the way forward.
The LASBCA boss explained processes and procedures guiding laws on physical developments and what must be done to comply with the regulations.
He said that there was no ethnic coloration to the decisions of the government, whose only motive was to prevent building collapse and ensure the safety of the lives of the traders and other Nigerians.
Secretary to the seven-man Technical Committee, Chris Maduka, commended the government’s action to sanitize the market.
Maduka said it had brought them closer and was in the best interest of everybody to save traders from touts extorting them with various conflicting taxes and illegal levies.
During the on-the-spot assessment of the market, Maduka appealed for the cooperation and understanding of the traders affected by the demolition exercise.
He said that using protest or violence would defeat the purpose for which Sanwo-Olu set up the Committee.
Some of the affected traders carrying placards with various inscriptions at the market pleaded with Sanwo-Olu to fast-track the assignment of the committee to restore their means of livelihood.