By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsur Olowoopejo
The Lagos State government has issued stern warning to some groups identified as land speculators and fraudsters who engage in the illegal sale and development of land within the state to desist or risk jail terms, even as it has arrested 79 people and impounded 16 vehicles found on the road during weekend environmental sanitation exercise.
It also vowed to continue with the enforcement of the environmental law until there was total compliance from the general public.
Permanent Secretary of the state Land Bureau, Mr. Gbenga Ashafa, who gave the warning, weekend, said the state government had discovered that land speculators and fraudsters were involved in the illegal sales of land around Magodo Isheri Residential Scheme in Kosofe Local Government Area, thereby posing threat to the state megacity target.
The development came on the heels of a â€œWelcome to Lagosâ€ documentary aired by BBC2 in the United Kingdom on 15 April, which portrays Lagos as one huge slum and ignored world-acclaimed efforts by the state government to uplift the city.
The vast area of land behind the University of Lagos estate is bounded by Agiliti Village Excision, Magodo Gorge, River Ogun and Magodo-Agiliti Village is Lagos State government acquired land being part of the 7,300 acres global acquisition of 1969.
Expressing the state governmentâ€™s displeasure at the flagrant disregard to its intended plan for the neighbourhood by the erection of shanties and illegal structures, Ashafa said their action had turned the entire area into slum which is in contrast with the current Lagos dream and efforts of mega-city target.
His words: â€œThe area is not planned to accommodate the type of structures being erected by the squatters, while their unorganised development has provide veritable hideout for hoodlums, miscreants as well armed robbers who have been terrorizing the law-abiding citizens in the area.â€
According to Ashafa, â€œthe demolition exercise of illegal structures in the area will commence without prior warning very soon and any offenders caught will be arrested and prosecuted according to the state Environmental law.â€
79 people arrested, 16 vehicles impounded
On weekend environmental sanitation, Vanguard gathered that the state government arrested 79 people and impounded 16 vehicles found on the road along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Jibowu and some other parts of the state during the exercise.
The arrests were made by the two enforcement teams. One party was lead by the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Princess Sarah Sosan accompanied by the Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Muiz Banire, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Prince Rotimi Agunsoye, and other government officials while the other team comprised men of the Lagos State Task Force and Special Offences.
Speaking on behalf of the enforcement teams, Sosan said: â€œWe want our people to get more enlightened about the importance of environmental sanitation, the three hours is not too much, so that is the reason why we have embarked on serious enforcement of the exercise.â€
She added â€œThe present administration had in previous sanitation exercise carry-out enforcement but not as serious as the one we embarked upon today as we have decided that it is high time to make the people of the state comply with the rules and regulations of environmental sanitation.â€