Lagos compensates property owners

From left: Dr. Goroso Giwa, Executive Director, International Women Communication Center, Mrs. Yetunda Onabule, Special Adviser on Urban Development, Mr. Tunji Bello, Secretary to Lagos state Government and Representing Governor, Mr. Wasiu Anifoshe, Commissioner for Physical Panning and Urban Development, Hon. David Setonji, Chairman House Committee on Physical Planning and Mrs. Boladale Dapo-Thomas, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, during the One Day Workshop.

Individuals and groups whose properties were affected by the construction of key projects in Lagos State in the last one year have been compensated with an estimated sum of eight billion naira.

Special Adviser to the Governor on Urban Development, Mrs Yetunde Onabule said government does not indulge in forced eviction of people arbitrarily without taking into consideration the welfare of the evictees.

Mrs Onabule was speaking at a one-day seminar on UN Habitat III: Urban Thinkers Campus in Lagos.

She explained that compensation were promptly paid by the government on any land acquired by the state government for public interest, upon the presentation of all necessary documents that might be required.

Beneficiaries
The Special Adviser highlighted the beneficiaries to include those affected by the Abule-Egba link bridge, Oko Baba Sawmill relocation, Isale Igangan regeneration project on the Island of Lagos and the Epe Phase I road expansion, among others.

She said that the government would consistently advocate for the titling of all lands in the state and enjoined the people to obtain governor’s consent on subsequent transactions as well as regularise and register their title.

“You do not want to own dead capital; the uncertainty of ownership decreases the value of the asset and the ability to lend or borrow against it,” Mrs Onabule noted.

The event has its theme as “the City We Need.”

The Ideal City
Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode talked on the need for the Ideal City, maintaining that government would not shy away from efforts to make Lagos more liveable city for the citizenry.

Governor Ambode said the state government was delighted to be chosen as one of the 74 Urban Thinkers Campuses worldwide.

Some participants at the seminar

He affirmed that the development conferred on the state, the privilege of being one of the global centres providing a platform for stakeholders in sustainable urbanisation to exchange ideas, forge partnerships and develop solution to the challenges of urbanisation in contemporary modern cities.

“As a mega and a rapidly developing city, Lagos State is strategically positioned to play a leading role in propelling development on the continent, not only is Lagos the economic capital of Nigeria. It is the fifth largest economy and fastest growing city in Africa with population of over 22 million people….The huge economic opportunity available in Lagos State makes it a major destination for prosperity seekers which translates into thousands of people migrating into the state on a daily basis,” he added.

High influx
The state’s Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr Abiola Anifowoshe said that their major challenge facing Lagos remained the influx of people into the state, which had consequently put enormous pressure on the available infrastructure.

“This trend combined with the fact that one-third of the world’s population resides in slums, emphasises the urgent need for high quality urban design and planning with effective implementation,” Mr Anifowoshe explained.

Slum dwellers
A representative of Slum Dwellers International, Mr Sanni Mohammed, reiterated the need to pay attention to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 11 which focuses on growing population of urban settlers.

Mr Mohammed stated that consequent upon the growing urban population, the number of slum dwellers had increased considerably. He called on policy makers to urgently address issues that concern slums inhabitants.

In the same vein, the Convener, Urban Thinkers Campus in Nigeria, Dr Limota Giwa, listed infrastructure, human resources and rights of the people as the three thematic areas that must always be considered for Lagos to assume the status of “The City We Need.”

Dr Giwa said; “government should be more gender sensitive and properly protect the rights of women; it must also ensure a government of inclusion and develop the right attitude towards slum dwellers.”

Confidence Okwuchi