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Sanwo-Olu gives stern warning to property owners, developers on wetland, drainage

Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu

Sanwo-Olu gives stern warning to property owners, developers on wetland, drainage

The Lagos State Government has strongly cautioned property owners and developers against building structures on wetlands within the state. This is aimed at preventing flooding and avoiding unnecessary loss of lives during periods of heavy rainfall.

Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, on Sunday, gave this warning during an inspection tour of some areas in the Magodo area of the state to assess the level of compliance with demolition exercises.

Wahab warned that under Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s leadership, the state government would not accept any type of disobedience or carelessness. Such actions are harmful and can lead to serious consequences for residents, especially during the rainy season.

The warning came following petitions to the state government by the Residents’ Association in the area on suspicious planned development of the wetland by the communities.

Wahab reiterated the government’s stance that no wetlands would be utilized for either residential or commercial development.

According to him, “We received many petitions concerning the back-and-forth issues between the communities and residents. So today we came to see the state of the wetland.

“We had placed a signpost that this is a wetland and you can’t build on a wetland. But if people say they have a layout and approval, I am waiting for it.

“We are doing this because we don’t want a repeat of what we are experiencing at Isheri-Oshun, that will be child’s play if people go-ahead to build on this wetland.

“And we have reassured the residents that our position on wetlands remains and we shall enforce it.”

He said: “People built on the canal path and closed it up 100 per cent, causing flooding when it rains, and yet abuse the government. They even sued the government in court.

“But two weeks ago, the matter was struck out, and we moved to demolish the structures. So today we have come to check the level of compliance so the contractor can move to the site and clear the canal path for the secondary collector.

“None of these structures have approvals, and that is why we tell people to do a proper charting of their land, know where your land is situated, whether a commercial, residential or mixed area.

“Before building, there are requirements to meet beyond physical planning, you get a drainage clearance certificate from the environment ministry and we advise on the proper dimensions and location of drainages.”

On the ongoing enforcement against environmental infractions, Wahab vowed that monitoring would be intensified to ensure sanity and compliance.

“We will continue because our work is on the streets, not in the office, and we will continue to interface with the people to ensure the right thing is done with and for the environment.”

The commissioner was also at Ikoyi to assess the level of compliance with the 2m setback for canals, especially to distil the blocked canal which affects Dodan Barracks, resulting in flooding.

He noted that efforts so far have shown some improvement, “but major work still needs to be done.

“So the equipment will move in this week to clean the collector approaching the lagoon,” he stated.

Wahab was accompanied on the tour by Special Adviser on Environment Olakunle Rotimi-Akodu, Permanent Secretary Omobolaji Gaji, and other senior officials of the ministry.

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