By MONSURU OLOWOOPEJO
•Blame over-zealous officers for marking of houses •We’ll seal the houses — Govt…
Residents of Oloto and Herbert Macaulay Streets, Ebute Meta, Yaba Local Council Development Area, LCDA have defied the state government order to vacate the 30 buildings marked as distressed.
The buildings were marked by the Lagos State Building Control Agency, LASBCA, after a three-storey building located at No. 29c, Oloto Street collapsed leaving seven persons dead and 14 others injured.
When Vanguard visited the streets weekend, commercial activities have since resumed, as many private organisations operating from the marked buildings were going about their businesses without heeding government’s warning.
Also, residents were sighted moving in and out of their apartments without hindrance. They argued that not all the structures marked by the state government agency, LASBCA were distressed, saying, “Some of the buildings marked were built less than two years ago and don’t require any test but minor repairs.”
They also pleaded harsh economic condition for not quitting saying, “With the state of the economy, no tenant can afford to rent new apartment within the short notice given by government.”
Mr. Muritala Zubair, a resident of Oloto Street said, “Who among those who vacated their homes could afford to rent new apartment within the area? This is because the cost of accommodation is on the high side. That is why many don’t like to vacate their apartments easily, especially when issues like this occur.
“All the residents who vacated their apartments did so in agony. Many of them kept their belongings with relations.
Another resident, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Adedayo said: “I don’t know where to go from here. Last week, I went to the bank to withdraw all I had in my account to pay for my house rent. I don’t have any money left in the account. So where do I start?”
Mr. Tochukwu Aneke, a motorcycle spare parts dealer, said: “Why will I vacate the building? Besides our building isn’t distressed. The house was marked by overzealous officers from the state government agency on building control.”
“What we will advise our landlord to do is to demand for the agency to conduct structural stability test on the structure, as this will help prove to the government that the building is in good condition.”
Speaking on the reason for the action, the General Manager, Lagos State Building Control Agency, LASBCA, Mrs. Kafayat Odunayo said that the buildings were marked by the state government after it was discovered that they were distressed.
Explaining the process for demolition, Odunayo said: “We have asked the residents of the marked buildings to evacuate the building immediately. This is to give the agency the opportunity to carry out structural stability test on the building.”
She lamented that many residents don’t heed the warning of the agency. And when the agency discovered that they are still occupying the structure, it will seal up the building completely.