Lagos State Government on Sunday said it could no longer allow slums to flourish in the state if it wanted to ensure safety and be taken serious as a mega city.
Chairman of the state Taskforce on Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit, Bayo Sulaiman, said this while supervising the continuous demolition of some shanties in Iganmu-Alawo community in Apapa Iganmu Local Council Development Area, which started on Saturday.
No fewer than 10,000 residents are expected to be displaced in the 40-year-old community at the end of the exercise.
But Sulaiman, a Chief Superintendent of Police, said, “Government can no longer allow continuous existence of slums. Slums cannot flourish in the centre of a state with megacity plan.
“We cannot achieve mega city status with these slums. For instance, the Nigerian Breweries is very close to this area and there are some other industries around here. To allow a slum to remain here is not acceptable.”
Suliaman, who praised the residents for “cooperating” with government, said the people had accepted government plan for the area.
He said, “There is no resistant from anybody, they were informed so there is cooperation. Some of them have removed the roofs of their buildings.
“I think we have been on this issue for more than six months.
“Relevant ministries are on the ground. The Ministry of Physical of Planning and Urban Development, Lagos State Building Control Agency, Ministry of Agriculture and other stakeholders are on the ground to implement government’s decision.”
He said the government had alternative plan for the residents who had approval on their lands and buildings.
However, the Baale of the Community, Chief Lucas Medunoye, said the community was created in 1973 after the National Theatre was built by the government.
He said, “We were formerly living in Ilaje-Iganmu where the National Art Theatre is situated, but the Federal Government moved us to this place to enable them to build the Art Theatre in 1973.”
He urged the state government to come to the aid of the community by relocating the “over 10,000” residents.