A fellow of Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Mr Adebisi Adedire has told a Lagos High Court, Igbosere that it is permitted to build a house in Lagos State without planning or development permit.
Adedire told the court presided over by Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo that all the builder has to do is to regularise with the state government once erected. According to him, the provision for regularization allows one to embark on a property development and regularise the papers with the Ministry.
His testimony was at the ongoing criminal trial of the Registered Trustees of The Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) and four others for the collapse of SCOAN building at Ikotun Egbe, on September 12, 2014 that killed about 116 people.
The witness, who was subpoena by the court via a letter dated October 4, 2018 said, the Lagos state government made a publication recently asking those who did not have planning permit before erecting their structures to come and regularize their papers.
Under cross-examination by the prosecution counsel, Mr. Jonathan Ogunsanya, a Director in the State’s Ministry of Justice said, Adedire is a consultant to Lagos State government on town planning matters.
He further supported his position with an advertisement of Lagos State government in March this year on: ‘Enforcement of planning laws and regulations in government schemes and other areas in Lagos state’ added that such regulations provision had been practice for years even before he began to practise.
But the prosecution’s objection to the tendering of the certified true copy of the publication on the ground that the publication was after the collapse of Synagogue church’s guesthouse, was not upheld.
Defense counsel had argued the relevance of the publication as a tenderable exhibit.
Also in his examination, the witness said planning permit is a process whereby a proponent who seek to develop a land brings developmental proposal to the planning office adding ‘the essence of obtaining planning it development permit is to ensure legitimate erection of buildings in accordance to government regulation and to generate revenues for the state among others.
He listed those documents required before permit can be issued to include a survey plan duly signed and registered by a license surveyor; a tax clearance certificate; various architectural drawings among others.
When asked the procedure for enforcing compliance, he said there are series of enforcement notices to be served if the proponent failed to comply as the authority will issue a stop work order followed by a quit notice and then demolition notice.
SCOAN had opened its defence on the one-count charge of building without approval brought against it by the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), following the dismissal of its no-case submission on March 8, 2016.
Aside SCOAN’s one-count charge, the other defendants, namely, two engineers who built the building: Messrs Oladele Ogundeji and Akinbela Fatiregun, and their companies, Hardrock Construction and Engineering Company and Jandy Trust Limited are facing 110 counts of involuntary manslaughter. Further hearing of the matter has been adjourned till December 6 and 7, 2018.
Source: Yetunde Ayobami Ojo, The Guardian Newspaper