By Henry Ojelu
Barely one week after the Lagos State Building Control Agency, LASBCA, evacuated the occupants of a distressed 5 floor building located at 13/17 Breadfruit street, Lagos Island, some occupants have tried to use force to return to the building in breach of the court ordered evacuation.
LASBCA had on Monday May 16, 2022 evacuated occupants of the distressed building in compliance with an order of court for it to be re-stabilised or face demolition as directed by the stability report of the Lagos State Materials Testing Laboratory submitted to the court.
In a ruling delivered on May 13, 2022 in the suit filed by Attorney General of Lagos State against African Alliance Insurance and 13 others, a Special Offences Court in Ikeja had directed LASBCA to evacuate the occupants to implement a non-destructive test, NDT report submitted to the court by LASBCA.
The court presided over by Magistrate A.I Abina also directed that the NDT report implementation which includes a total renovation of the building, be carried out while considering the interest of other defendants/ occupants.
But moments after the agency executed the court ruling last week and left the premises, some of the occupants in company of military officers came back and to tried to re-occupy the building and when that failed they rushed to Police Force CIID Alagbon to seek assistance to re-occupy the property and frustrate the renovation of the property. By their actions the traders risk being arrested and charged for contempt of court.
The occupants according to averments made in court had similarly disregarded an earlier interim order made on 25th October 2021 to evacuate and sealing off the distressed building for safety purpose when they broke the government seal on the property, re-occupy the same and continued to trade their goods there.
Before the latest development, the Lagos Planning Permit Authority had on August 6, 2020 granted renovation permit to owners of the property, African Alliance Assurance Co Ltd. Also on September 28, 2020 LASBCA granted permission to the same owner to commence construction works on the property.
But the efforts to commence renovation and re-stabilisation of the structure has continued to be frustrated by some of the traders occupants whose sub-tenancies have expired.