A few years after its occupants abandoned it, a block of six flats at Progressive Estate, Abule-Nla, Ebute Metta in Lagos State is gradually collapsing.
One of the several buildings in the estate built by the Lateef Jakande administration in 1981, Block six, began to show signs of weakness shortly after its owners bought it from the state government.
The Secretary of the estate’s Landlord/Resident Association, Mr. Samusideen Lawal, said, “All the blocks in this estate were bought from the government by private individuals. When the owners first noticed signs of weakness in the building, they wrote to the Lagos Building Investment Company.
“Unfortunately, they didn’t follow up that first complaint that they had been sold a badly constructed building. After more than two decades, the cracks in the building got worse. The allottees were then forced to vacate the building. This was in 2009. This block has been empty ever since.”
Lawal said the residents subsequently wrote the government several times to inform it of the state of the building and the danger it constituted to them.
An acknowledged copy of one of the letters, dated August 19, 2011 written to the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, was made available to Punch Metro.
In it, the residents pleaded for the prompt demolition of Block Six, which had already been marked some years ago.
The letter read in part, “Despite our letters, nothing has been done even though the residents therein have vacated the property. This block has tilted precariously towards other blocks and the Estate PHCN transformer.”
Chairman of the Landlord/Residents Association, Mrs. Anna Abidoye said, “We do not want this building to eventually collapse. It would destroy the PHCN transformer and other buildings close to it.
“The building has been empty for years and it would be so easy for hoodlums to jump into the estate at night and use the place as a hideout or for keeping arms.”
Copies of other letters addressed to the General Manager, Lagos State Physical Planning and Permit Authority and the Commissioner of Physical Planning and Urban Development were also made available to Punch Metro.
There were large cracks visible all over Block Six when Punch Metro visited the building. The top of the building down to its middle had tilted very close to Block Seven beside it.
Lawal said, “I think the reason why the government is yet to demolish the building is because they are yet to complete negotiations on how the owners of the building will be compensated. I am aware negotiations have been on for five years now but I don’t think it has been concluded yet. Since it was the government that sold the building, the owners should be compensated if it is going to be demolished.”
The Ministry’s Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Oluwo-Adekoya, when contacted said, “I cannot comment on that story. Only the commissioner can do so.
However, there was no response from the Commissioner Mr. Toyin Ayinde, as calls to his telephone rang out. He did not reply the text messages sent to his phone.
However, around 7.07pm, he called the correspondent and told her to book an appointment.