Fashola Signs Law Against Illegal Construction Of Buildings In Lagos
• Defaulters risk 2 years in jail or N1 million fine or both
May 4, 2009 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Monday assented to a bill establishing the State’s Model City Development Authority whose duty is to regulate construction of buildings in the State.
The Law, which also provides for the establishment of a Model City Development Committee comprising of members of community and residents associations as well as professionals, will ensure that nobody, whether developer or occupier, engages in the construction or alteration of any structure or development facilities contrary to the provisions of the Town Planning and Urban Development laws of the State.
In a brief remark before signing the bill into law, Governor Fashola said the law was the first of the many steps his administration is taking to enforce the State’s Town Planning and Urban Development laws and regulations, adding that it is in line with the promise he made to Lagosians at inception that he would find a well thought-out solution to the incidence of building collapse.
Governor Fashola, who said the law is probably one of the most important pieces of legislation his administration will enact, declared, “At the onset of this administration, we were confronted by incidents of unorganized buildings and collapsed buildings leading to loss of life. I made a promise to Lagosians that we would find a well thought-out and enduring solution to the issue of collapsed buildings”.
The Governor, who particularly expressed joy at the involvement of professionals and community and resident associations in the enforcement of the law, noted that it has democratized the process to allow people and professionals to get involved in monitoring the process of building constructions and developments in their communities.
“This is extremely important because in a state of about 18 million people, the whole of the Lagos State public service work force cannot adequately police the whole of the buildings and constructions going on in the State”, Governor Fashola said adding that now that professionals, architects, builders, members of the CDC and representatives of Residents Associations are involved, they would take more than a passing interest in what goes on around them.
According to him, “Unlike in the past when it will require Government to come and stop an illegal building or illegal development, it is the Committee that will have the power to do so”, adding that the Model City Law has stipulated the regulation for the type of buildings that are permissible within the city in which that law is applicable.
“What it means is that once we give approval, in spite of our inspectorate and monitoring division, the Committee has the right to stop any unlawful development and it will be our duty, whenever a court order is pronounced, to enforce that court order”, he said.
Governor Fashola said, however, that any person who feels aggrieved by the provision of the law, as is appropriate in any democratic setting, is at liberty to go to the House of Assembly, lobby and get amendment or improvement to the law as may be necessary.
Thanking the members of the State House of Assembly for the thorough consideration they gave to the bill, the Governor said it is his belief that the law will constitute one of the means to control urban and town planning in the State with a view to ensuring that buildings are properly constructed with the involvement of professionals to ensure their quality and make sure they are safe so that lives are not needlessly lost.
Earlier, while introducing the bill, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Political and Legislative Matters, Hon. Abdul-Lateef Abdul-Hakeem, said the law, which according to him, has 30 sections, is in line with the ambition of the State to become a model mega-city in Africa.
He said any body found guilty of contravening the law would be liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment of two years or a fine of N1 million or both adding that the law encourages members of the communities to come on board and participate in the development of the State.
Describing the law as an embodiment of participatory democracy in view of the involvement of professionals, CDAs, Resident Associations and others, the Special Adviser said the law empowers the Committee members to enter into any premises for the purpose of ensuring compliance to the Lagos State Town Planning and Urban Development law.
Also present at the brief ceremony are the Commissioner for Town Planning and Urban development, Town Planner Francisco Abosede, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Olasupo Sasore, among other members of the State Executive Council as well as other top government functionaries.