Mende residents were served notices before their properties were demolished – Lagos Commissioner for Environment.

The Lagos State Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Tokunboh Wahab, has stated that owners of the demolished properties that hindered the flow of drainage in Mende in the Maryland area of the state were served “requisite notices” before their buildings were removed from the System 1 Drainage Right of Way over the weekend.

While speaking on Channels TV on Sunday, May 5,  Wahab said the property owners were notified as far back as 2021.

During the demolition, the property owners alleged that they were only given two hours’ notice before their buildings were pulled down by the government. The commissioner however said the drainage right of way was set aside since 1974 and the residents were duly engaged before the demolitions were carried out.

“They claimed they were not served notices, they were served. They had come for meetings severally. The residents’ association had met with the Permanent Secretary, Engr Mahmood Adekunle Adegbite severally in my office. So, on what basis were they having meetings if they were not served?

The first notices were served on them in 2021. Each of the property owners on Systems 1 was duly written that they should remove their encumbrances because they were sitting on Systems 1. That led to engagements with my predecessor in office, Mr Tunji Bello.”

He said on assumption of office last year, his administration wrote the residents because “these properties were sitting on Systems 1 Right of Way, that is Odo Iya Alaro Right of Way”.

Wahab said the owners of the affected buildings were served personally and their properties were marked subsequently. “We didn’t just go there, we also engaged them,” the commissioner stated, arguing that the state environmental laws allow the removal of buildings seen as encumbrances on drainage channels.

He said the Odo Iya Alaro Drainage Channel is important to the state’s erosion flow.

Wahab further stated that some decisions are very painful but tough decisions must be taken to govern well. He was, however, mute about possible compensation for owners of the affected buildings

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