Disaster was averted on Monday as fire broke out during the demolition of shanties by the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) at Breadfruit Street in Lagos Island Market.
The General Manager of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), Mr Gbolahan Oki, alongside a joint taskforce, had issued a 14-day ultimatum on traders to remove all extensions on road setbacks.
The joint team comprising six agencies was led by the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr Oluyinka Olumide.
BRANDPOWER reports that the joint operation was against building collapse, traffic congestion, street trading and environmental infractions
While the team was going round the market to make announcements on the ultimatum, Oki directed the LASBCA enforcement team to continue ongoing removal of shanties on Breadfruit Street.
BRANDPOWER reports that removal of shanties on the street began after the Mandilas Market 10- storey building fire incident of Jan. 21.
Oki called the attention of the team to an emergency situation opposite the popular Bread Fruit House in Balogun Market.
He raised alarm over several generators on the extended first floor of Bolashudun House on Breadfruit Street covering a PHCN transformer mounted on the ground floor.
He directed his team to remove the generators from the first floor, using an earth moving equipment to lower the generators to the ground.
The team successful lowered a large Mikano Generator before lowering the smaller ones.
However, upon completion of the exercise, the team moved to the next street when fire burst out from one of the generators, causing pandemonium.
Oki led the enforcement team to rush back at the billowing smoke to pull a medium sized burning generator with a crane away from the transformer and other bigger generators.
They subdued the fire, totally putting it out using a crane, and a sympathizer later emerged with a fire extinguisher.
The general manager said that all generators must be removed from storey buildings and relocated to the ground floor for safety.
He warned traders to remove all extensions, saying owners of buildings will bear cost of demolition after expiration of the ultimatum.
Oki insisted there must be free traffic flow on Lagos Island, adding that the enforcement was a continuous operation that would last for six months to make sure traders vacate the roads and setbacks.
Speaking with journalists, the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr Oluyinka Olumide, said the state government was enforcing zero tolerance to illegal developments.
He said Lagos State was recently rated 19th in the ease of doing business global index and the government would ensure that sanity was restored and sustained in the physical environment.
“It is zero tolerance to shanties. It is total cleaning of Lagos Island.
“We cannot tolerate this, it does not befit the status of the state. We will continue on daily cleaning until we achieve sanity,” he said.
Olumide advised traders who could not get legal spaces in Lagos Island to take their business to other parts of the state saying, “it is not by force to do business on Lagos Island”.
He said government would clear all attachments and extension to buildings, including staircases.
The commissioner said that all encroachments on roads, pedestrian walkways and drains would be cleared on expiration of the ultimatum.
“We have an agenda in Lagos, which is to make Lagos a befitting state. Of recent, it was rated 19th state in the world, that’s a plus and we want to be number one.
“People can still do their businesses, but it has to be done in a proper and civilized manner,” he said.
The Special Adviser, Central Business Districts, Mrs Bola Olumegbon-Lawal, appealed to traders not to create nuisance by indiscriminately allocating spaces to themselves.
“We want a conducive environment for every Lagosian between the business district and around.
“We didn’t give anybody permission to sell on the road and on government walkway and all attachments to any physical structure must be removed within 14 days,” she said.
The Director General, Lagos State Safety Commission, Mr Lanre Mojola, said there were lots of fire outbreaks, mainly from generators.
He said safety should come first before economic gains.
Mojola said all generators should be relocated downstairs, adding that, none would be allowed upstairs after 14 days.
Managing Director, Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), Dr Muyiwa Gbadegesin, explained measures against drain stuffing saying enforcement on usage of litter bins would be carried out.
Also on the entourage were the General Manager, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Mr Olalekan Bakare-Oki, Chairman, Lagos State Taskforce, CSP Shola Jejeloye and other top directors.