One year after the Lagos State government has compiled a list of more than 115 abandoned properties in Ikoyi and Victoria Island and notified owners of auction for non-completion and use, the policy seemed to have been abandoned.
The government had explained that the idea to auction the abandoned buildings was to spur their owners to either complete them for use of demolish them for safety sake and abuse by miscreants.
The state government in October last year, directed owners of the buildings/structures to take physical possession of such properties to ensure they are completed, restored and fit for habitation within 90 days or face prosecution.
The directive which was contained in a document signed by Mr. Tunji Bello, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), said in parts: “Currently, miscreants and criminal elements have taken over the abandoned properties where they perpetrate criminal activities thus depriving resident of these areas of security, peace and serenity hitherto identified with the areas”.
“The attention of the Lagos State Government has been drawn to the growing number of abandoned buildings/structures in Ikoyi and Victoria Island which has constituted environmental hazard and posed serious security threat to lives and property, in contravention of Lagos State Laws.
“In order to get rid of squatters, miscreants and criminal elements who sought refuge in abandoned structures out of Ikoyi and Victoria Island, the Lagos State Government has identified and compiled the under listed properties for necessary remedial action by Owners/Developers.
Government made it clear that “This step became necessary in view of the fact that the activities of these criminals are depriving these areas and the good citizens of security, peace and serenity which is hitherto one of the characteristics of the area. In view of the foregoing, Owners /Developers of such and similar buildings/structures are given 90 days’ notice from the date of this publication to take physical possession to ensure that such properties are completed, restored and fit for habitation.
Efforts to find out why the state government backed out from the threat after the 90 days given to the owners of the affected house at the Office of Secretary to the State Government on Monday failed.