Residents of Ebute Meta in Lagos State have expressed anxiety over the state of an abandoned five-storey building on Tapa Street, Lagos Mainland Local Government.
It was learnt that some of the rooms in the building were being occupied by hoodlums and beggars.
On Saturday, some of the occupants of the building were seen smoking while others were sleeping. The residents told the correspondent that the owner, who resides in the United States, abandoned the building because it had structural defect.
One of the occupants, Baba Lakunle, said few months after the owner abandoned the building, illegal occupants moved in.
Lakunle said, “I have spent more than 19 years in this area and I met the building here. Few months after the building was abandoned, some people entered the place illegally and began to live there.
“The owner of the building lives in the US but he was always sending money to some people for its construction. Unfortunately, when he visited Nigeria, he noticed some structural defects.
“We learnt that the foundation had a problem and with time it made the building to bend. If you look at the house, you will see that it is tilting towards one side.”
Another resident, who gave his name simply as Taiwo, said he was surprised that the building had not collapsed.
He said, “You won’t believe that the building had been there since I was in secondary school. I can remember that each time we were returning from school, we usually stopped to play football on a field that used to be beside the building. After playing, we would go into the building to clean up.
“Right now, I am married with two children. That building has been in this area for a long time.”
A community elder, who pleaded anonymity, expressed fear that it would be disastrous if the building was allowed to collapse.
He said, “Concerned government agencies cannot pretend that they are not aware of the condition of the building. Some of their officials are living in this area but they have done nothing to prevent the collapse of the building.
“Many houses have been marked in Ebute Meta for demolition but you won’t see government officials until the buildings collapse and kill people.”
Abother occupant of the building told the correspondent that some youths collect rent from her and others.
“We are not just living here. Some youths used to come and collect rent from us. If we don’t pay them, they would threaten to evict us,” she claimed.
When contacted, General Manager, Lagos Building and Control Agency, Mrs. Abimbola Animashaun, said, “I don’t know the building unless I see the picture which will enable me to check my records for it.
“I will appreciate if the address of the building can be sent to me so that I will confirm the situation of the building.”