Lagos State Government has begun the demolition of a defective five-storey building that was abandoned for 20 years in Ebute-Metta.
The demolition was ordered following a report by PUNCH Metro on the building and the anxiety by residents of the area.
Newsmen had reported that the owner, who lived in the United States, abandoned the building because it had structural defects.
A few years after it was abandoned, hoodlums and beggars turned the place into their haven, disregarding the dangers.
However, when newsmen visited the building on Monday, it was observed that demolition had started and illegal occupants of the rooms had been evicted.
According to some of the residents, the demolition shows government’s concern for the security of lives of the citizens.
One of them, Mr. Rasak Adewale, who observed that the demolition of the building would make its occupants homeless, said safety of lives was more important.
He said, “The demolition has both advantages and disadvantages. Though, the advantages are obviously greater than the disadvantages. I pity those that used to live in the building. But they must realise that the demolition is for their safety too.”
Another resident, identified simply as Taye, who commended PUNCH Metro for the initial report, pleaded with the government to compensate former occupants of the building.
She said, “We all know what it takes to get accommodation in Lagos. Nobody will wish to reside in that kind of building. It will be better if the government can give them support to get another house.
“I appreciate the report by The PUNCH, but the fact remains that demolishing the building alone may not solve the problem because those living there will still go and look for another abandoned building to reside since they don’t have the capability to rent a house. They might even rob or do other illegal activities to get another house.
“I appeal to the government to take a bold step to help those occupying the defective building to get a decent accommodation.”
When contacted on the telephone, General Manager, Lagos State Building and Control Agency, Mrs. Abimbola Animashaun, said the demolition of the building by the agency was in line with the Lagos State Rural and Urban Development Law 2010.