Lagos issues removal notice to owners of illegal structures

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A canoe filled with food floats past a makeshift photo studio in the waterside slum of Makoko in Lagos January 22, 2013. Nigeria is often used by promoters of an "Africa Rising" narrative urging investors to buy into the continent's potential to reap a "demographic dividend" from an expanding population of young people of working age. Yet in the waterside slum of Makoko, where 100,000 residents huddle together in homes on stilts that spill right out into the Lagos Lagoon, few feel on the verge of prosperity. Picture taken January 22, 2013. To match Insight AFRICA-SUMMIT/POPULATION REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye (NIGERIA - Tags: SOCIETY FOOD BUSINESS) - RTXYEPC

The operatives of the Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit (Task Force) on Wednesday issued a seven-day ‘Removal Notice’ to owners/occupants of illegal structures/shanties around public schools at Mile 2, Badagry Expressway, Lagos.

The structures include: mechanic workshops, containarised kiosks and commercial bus garages.

The Chairman of the agency, Olayinka Egbeyemi, a Chief Superintendent of Police, disclosed this when he addressed illegal owners/occupants, traders/mechanics and sectional heads of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), at Mile 2.

He warned them to vacate the area as well as the vicinity of the schools within the stipulated period

Egbeyemi said the removal order became imperative following outcries by residents, particularly the management of public schools (Imoye High School and Amuwo Odofin Junior Secondary School), which criminals have turned to their hideouts/spots for carrying out their nefarious activities, thereby making the environment not conducive for learning.

He said: “It is disheartening seeing these illegal business operators like mechanics, iron benders, food/fruit vendors and others turning the perimeter fence of these schools into illegal trading spots. In addition, they have littered the area with refuse.”

The chairman said investigation showed that the illegal structures/shanties, which served as the abode of criminals who robbed people of their belongings along the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, did not have approval by the government.

He said after the expiration of the removal order on March 4, the agency will embark on a clean-up in the area and clamp down on criminals.

Egbeyemi warned traders and occupants not to bribe anyone in order to prevent or stop the removal order, stressing that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has, on compassionate ground, approved compensation for those who deserve it.

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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