•Agency prosecutes defaulters
Relief, albeit temporarily, came the way of the 12 people arrested at various building construction sites in Ajeromi/Ifelodun Local Government Area of Lagos State on Saturday, when a Magistrates’ Court granted them bail in various sums on Monday. The presiding magistrate had ordered their detention in prison custody until they were able to perfect their bail conditions.
The 12 were arrested during an enforcement exercise carried out by the officials of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), led by the General Manager, Lekan Shodeinde, an engineer.
One of the defaulters, Mr. Obina Akabor, owner of the property on No 6, Chidi Street, Ajegunle, was released upon depositing N500,000 and two sureties. He was charged with a four-count charge of breaking government seal, no approval and no building permit, among others. Prior to his arrest, Akabor had caused confusion at the scene of his arrest, threatening to break the seal placed on his property under construction by LASBCA.
Akabor, upon sighting LASBCA officials, let all hell lose, accusing them of wickedness. “I have paid over N4 million to government for approval, yet they keep sealing my house. I will break this seal again and finish building my house; I will not stop except I die,” he threatened.
Shodeinde, however, said while Akabor had applied for building permit, he, however, had no approval to build. Besides, he explained that what Akabor had built on his parcel of land was at variance with the drawing plan he submitted.
“Government is not stupid. There is no sane building authority that will approve what he has built here (pointing to the house). Akabor initially put up three buildings on the land, contravening building laws; we pulled down one and asked him to stop work on another, then we sealed the premises. But what do we see here? He has two buildings standing on the land when he has no approval. There is no way we will approve this kind of construction to stand, he has to take down one of the two buildings, and then wait for approval,” Shodeinde said, adding that on more than four occasions, Akabor had broken the government seal on his house.
Food, fuel and housing push inflation to 15.13% in January― NBS
INCREASE in prices of food items, fuel, transport, accommodation, clothing among others pushed inflation to 15.3 percent in January 2017 against the position one year earlier according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) report released on Wednesday by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The Bureau, however, explained that the figure was 0.24 percent points lower than the 15.37 percent recorded in December 2017 making it the twelfth consecutive month that headline inflation has slowed down year on year inflation since January 2017.
“The Food Index increased year-on-year by 18.92 percent in January, down from the 19.42 percent recorded in December.
“On a month-on-month basis, the Food sub-index increased by 0.87 percent in January 2018, down by 0.29 percent from 0.58 percent recorded in December.
But that was not the only property sealed in the community. Five buildings on Ojo Road were equally sealed. Included in this is the zonal headquarters of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG). The owners of the RCCG building, a massive three-storey structure, were said to have broken the government’s seal many times after it was served ‘stop work notice’ and sealed. The Nation gathered that notice of stop work order was served the developer on November 3, 2015, followed by another on April 29, 2016. Three labourers found working on the structure were arrested.
A shopping mall on Owokoniran Street, opposite Access Bank, Coker Bus Stop, in Ajeromi, was also sealed. Although the first and second floors of the mall are already occupied by traders, the third floor is still under construction. LASBCA officials maintained that the entire build had no approval. It was gathered that the structure had been sealed several times, with the shop owners breaking government seals; two people were arrested.
Also, De-Golden Guest Hotel, located at 98, Opebi Street, Ikeja, was also sealed, for what LASBCA called “illegal conversion from residential building to hotel” without approval.
A livid Shodinde told The Nation that although Opebi area had been upgraded to a mixed use area, the building in question didn’t have the requisite approval.
“It was an existing building – residential now converted to hotel. The side is residential terrace building. The owner broke our seal several times. They started like they were renovating the house, and later paid for the renovation permit. To our surprise, when we came, we saw a hotel, the structure has been converted to a hotel without government approval. We sealed the property, but the owner unsealed it again. That is why we are shutting it down now for illegal conversion,” the LASBCA boss explained.
Shodeinde warned that it would be a different ball game this year for building construction defaulters.
“This year, we will come down hard on defaulters who remove our seals. We will prosecute anybody found on site. Once a building contravenes, anybody found on it will be arrested and prosecuted. To unseal a sealed site is a criminal offence and the penalty is N500,000,” he said.