Lagos estate resident cries out to Gov Sanwo Olu over illegal structure

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A Lagos estate homeowner has cried out to Governor Babajide Sanwo Olu over the erection of a telecommunications base station and an ongoing illegal structure close to the major drainage without appropriate stipulated setbacks by the Lagos State Urban and Regional Town Planning authorities.

Formerly known as Mawra Gardens, now rechristened MKO Abiola Gardens, Alausa, Ikeja, close to Government House, is a serene neighborhood, but the serenity the residential estate has enjoyed for over two decades now is about to be disrupted if the unregulated plans by officials of the estate’s management to erect an illegal structure on a small piece of land that has been used over the years as a meeting venue, among other uses, are not curbed.

Alhaji Olusoga Elias Olowolekomoh, who incidentally is the Oba-elect of Odo-Nla Kingdom, Ikorodu, Lagos, is a pioneer homeowner in MKO Abiola Gardens since 1997, a resident on Block 43B Peacock Lane, and he is apprehensive about the illegal structure as it is right by his entrance gate. “I am one of the first set of resident landlords domiciled in MKO Gardens, Alausa, Ikeja, since 1997. Though I am based in England, United Kingdom, I do visit friends and relatives back home at periodic intervals as deemed necessary. I am a native of Ikorodu, Lagos State, Nigeria,” the businessman and philanthropist began even as he gave an insight into the issue.

“On a small portion of land inside MKO Gardens that used to be known to the entire estate and outsiders as ‘wood office’ next to my property, which later turned out to become a centre of divergent businesses, was converted to a wooden shanty and eventually a make-shift small block used often as meetings venue by the estate management officials after the original landlords; LSDPC, left the estate premises. As a matter of fact, the estate meeting centre later caved, with the building structures partially collapsed to the ground. Afterwards, information and intelligence received from credible sources indicated that series of geological tests were commissioned and conducted to ascertain the integrity of the soil’s solidity and conditions and the verdict was a certified declaration that no tangible and enduring structure or property can be erected at the site for health and safety reasons, being a left over portion of landscape segregated as access points area and unit for identifying and monitoring underground sewage waste channels and pipelines for the entire estates with connection points to major sewage canal extensions outside the community as far as main drainage connected to Alausa districts and other adjoining communities.beyond the axis”

Olowolekomoh’s main concern is the penchant of the current estate management for the “indiscriminate erections of dangerous structures and dumping of recyclable waste products and toxic materials on the site in flagrant abuse and violations of communal environmental sanitation laws and regulations by state and non-state actors for personal gratification benefits and purposes. The new exco members of the estate’s management officials who visited the site did nothing afterwards but tried to divert discussions to other irrelevant issues, despite the severity of the matter at stake. Another lady (name withheld), who is equally one of the estate management staff, did not respond to several attempts to reach her on the phone concerning the matter. Currently, the unrelenting abuse extends to direct trespassing and encroachment against my property, which is situated next door with a concrete fence and floral demarcations to the open landscape. My building’s frontage and adjacent wall fence have become so blighted and damaged with varied physical defacement that it has cost me a significant amount to restore and repair at separate intervals. Aside from the above personal burdens, the unregulated use of this landscape poses great existential dangers and risks to the overall communal environmental sanitation, which designates the ground as a green space for ecosystem balancing and aesthetics in perfect alignment with the Lagos State Ministry of Urban and Town Planning regulations.”

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To his surprise, however, while he was pushing to ensure that the telecommunications company’s high mast on the land was dismantled and removed, “it got to my notice that the same small portion of land has been sold to someone who has now demolished the old cracked meeting centre, with an intent to build residential/commercial property on the land atop the underground sewage units, despite expert’s warnings and advice to this effect. The very high telecom mast and electronic billboard on the land are positioned next to my property’s wall to the extent that parts of the support braces are laying on my concrete flower pots while the posterior wall fence is encroached from the side adjacent to my gate entrance.”

The NCC Act, according to Olowolekomoh, expressly states the major focus of the Act.Section 1 of the NCC Act provides that: “the primary object of this Act is to create and provide a regulatory framework for the Nigerian communications industry and all matters related thereto…

Attached are the detailed site analysis of the described estate layout and the callout sections of the affected area, as mentioned above;

IMGS-01 shows the site imagery of the MKO Gardens, showing its entire layout and property boundary. (Green-lined area: Block 43 B& Extention Peacock Lane, owned by Olowolekomoh)

IMGS-02 shows the site imagery of the MKO Gardens, showing its entire layout and property boundary in 3D. (Red-lined area: erected telecommunication base station with a setback of 450mm to the boundary of Plot 43B peacock lane owned by Alhaji Olusoga Elias Olowolekomoh with a height of more than 25m, which could be deflected by heavy wind and collapse on adjoining buildings.)

IMGS-03 shows the callout images for the aforesaid property and its current spatial allocation, with highlighted areas.(blue-lined area): The existing meeting centre’s structure (a bungalow), which collapsed to the ground, as previously stated by experts that the integrity of the site’s soil could not support nor endure the weight of such building constructions. Despite the series of geological tests which were commissioned and conducted to ascertain the integrity of the soil’s solidity and conditions, the verdict was a certified declaration that no tangible and enduring structure or property can be erected at the site, being a left over portion of landscape segregated as access points and mapping survey area for underground waste sewage channels and pipelines for the entire estates, with connection points to major sewage canal extensions outside the community extending as far to mains connected to Alausa districts and adjoining communities.)

“My urgent appeal to the Ministry of Urban and Town Planning, LSPDC, and Lagos State government therefore is to take immediate action to secure the ground with a view to restoring and conserving it as an ultra communal green space it was designated for against any prohibited residential or commercial developments hazardous to environmental safety. As a matter of fact, verified investigation reports by expert consultants indicated that the installation of a high telecom mast on the site failed the relevant Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports, while ongoing developments on the site also constitute infringements on the integrity of surrounding properties within it’s immediate vicinity.”

What may have given the estate authorities the temerity to attempt to block the entrance of his second entrance gate may be because they thought there was no government approval for it. “What they don’t know is that as far back as November 2007, I already got approval from the Lagos State Development and Property Corporation, I paid the required fee, and I am good. Now, they think they can encroach into my property, block my entrance with an illegal structure, and destroy my flower pots,” Olowolekomoh said.

A viable regeneration plan, according  to Olowolekomoh can optimize a better use of the space as a recreation ground with carefully designed landscape beautification and facilities that provide strategic added aesthetic communal value to the estate in particular while also being of immense benefits to the public at large.

The businessman who commended the estate management authorities in the areas of security and organisation however maintained that in the event of no positive proactive action by the authorities to secure the ground against the nuisance and gross abuse taking place on it, he as a concerned homeowner may be left with no other alternative “than to pursue legal actions to safeguard and protect the integrity of my property and secure the site against threats of hazardous urban property developers and opportunists who are too desperate to sabotage and compromise the safety of the estate’s residents including members of the general public against looming environmental disasters due to their compromised perversions bordering on personal selfish aggrandizement at the expense of all and sundry. The estate management should be commended for the way and manner in which it has secured residents. The security organisation is top-notch, and the environment is very neat, befitting the status of the estate. The only dark spot is the proposed erection of that illegal structure, which I am contesting,” he submitted.

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