Lagos State Government on Friday reiterated its determination to reclaim all its drainage setbacks in Apapa from encroachment following a meeting with property owners and residents.
Speaking during a meeting with property owners in Apapa at Alausa, the State Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab said for several years, the Ministry has not been able to access the eight major drains for maintenance due to encroachment.
Addressing the gathering alongside the Special Adviser on Environment, Kunle Rotimi-Akodu and the Permanent Secretary, Office of Drainage Services, Engr. Mahamood Adegbite, Wahab directed enforcement officers to ensure that all contravening properties are served with the mandatory notices as the State will not cherry-pick properties for enforcement.
According to him, “Where there are primary and secondary collectors, the right of way to setback are put in place by law and regulation; residents should always adhere to this. It is not because we want to toy with residents’ properties but because the law states that we must maintain the collectors always”.
He added that the Law requires that drainages across the state should have thorough access for cleaning but the reverse is the case here, saying the government is determined to find a realistic solution to the flooding in the areas and as a result of this, contravention notices would be served to all residents from Monday.
He said the natural setback for all drainage channels is three metres but the Ministry decided to put a human face to its decision which brought about the reduction to two metres.
Similarly, Tokunbo Wahab, who also continued his dialogue with property owners on the corridors of System 156 and 157 in Lekki brought a proposition prepared by the State to re-establish some part of the obliterated System 156 with minimal property removals as an aftermath of three proposals submitted earlier by the property owners.
Part of the suggestion in the proposal is that some part of the cost of construction of the realignment would be borne by the State while the property owners would also be responsible for some.
He urged the property owners in the 156 corridors to organise themselves into a group and do a critical appraisal of the proposal from the state, urging them to turn in their views by next Friday.
He explained that it is not mandatory for the property owners to toe the line of the state government and should be ready to sign an MOU on modalities for cleaning the drainages after an amicable resolution.
The Commissioner also gave an assurance that the construction part of the realignment that would be borne by the property owners would be handled by them with the state only supervising for standards.
Also during the meeting the Commissioner affirmed that drone footage shows the channel has been reduced from the original size of 46 metres to 25 meters on both sides by land reclamation and some structures.
He said the government is determined to find a realistic solution to the flooding in the area by not allowing what happened on System 156 to repeat itself on System 147 with the sign becoming very evident.
The Commissioner thereafter urged developers and builders to always seek drainage approvals before commencing any building project
Special Adviser on Environment, Mr. OlaKunle Rotimi-Akodu advised residents affected to move their fences themselves immediately, saying that following the expiration of contravention notices served on all the properties to move the fences backwards themselves, the State will go on and enforce the law appropriately.
He added that their failure to comply translates that the Government will use instruments of law to reclaim the original three-metre setback using enforcement.