•Urges Governor to caution LASG officials conniving with land speculators, developers
Residents of the Magodo GRA Phase II Estate in Lagos on Thursday, sent a Save Our Souls and Properties message to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, following the invasion of the estate and the threat to their safety and security due to incessant forceful access by unauthorised persons to the wetlands around the estate.
The residents disclosed that land speculators and developers aided by top officials of Lagos State Physical Planning and Urban Development have decided on building the wetland and they are bent on making an incursion therein through Magodo Phase II, noting that the plan is a direct threat to the environment, safety and security of a community with over 16,000 residents, who have lived peacefully and secured in the estate for more than three decades.
The residents, therefore, called for Governor Sanwo-Olu’s urgent intervention “to forestall the breakdown of law and order in the estate and the state, which some people aided by the Commissioner for Physical Planning, Dr. Oluyinka Olumide; and the Chairperson of Ikosi Isheri Local Government, Mrs Samiat Abolanle Bada; who are top Lagos State Government functionaries, appear set to ignite for reasons best known to them.”
The Magodo GRA Phase II Estate Residents Association made the appeal to Governor Sanwo-Olu on Thursday during a press conference addressed by its Chairman, Engr. Sheriff Daramola, in the company of the Board of Trustees, Central Consultative Council, Central Management Council, executive members and residents of the estate.
Daramola implored the Lagos State Government to desist from any plan to build link roads to the wetland through Magodo Phase II Estate but instead construct a road from the Otedola underpass which is currently free of development and unencumbered.
He disclosed that in the last six months, residents had experienced serial vandalisation of vehicles, theft cases and criminal activities as a result of exposure to the wetland by land speculators and developers who were bent on making an incursion therein through the Estate.
Daramola, who commended Lagos State Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Tokunbo Wahab, for his recent visit to Magodo Phase II where he emphasised the significance of the wetland and its implications for development, wondered why the Commissioner for Physical Planning, Dr. Oluyinka Olumide, wants land speculators and developers to have access to the wetland through Magodo Estate.
He said: “We commend Mr. Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for his unwavering support and commitment to his promises not to allow access through the wetlands from Magodo Phase II in our tripartite meeting in the past and in his support to ensure continuous peace in our Magodo Phase II community and Lagos State as a whole.
“Mr. Governor, sir, we have those that are warming up to distort and destroy the peace and harmony we enjoy in Magodo Phase II; to add to the security concerns in the estate and Lagos State by forcefully planning to access the wetland through Magodo Phase II despite alternative routes listed outside Magodo Phase II. Accessing the wetland through Magodo Phase II shall create further damage and shall be colossal.”
Speaking during the press conference, former Lagos State Commissioner for TPL Francisco Abosede, who is a resident in the Magodo GRA Phase II Estate, said the wetland amongst other ecological benefits served as a natural storm collector and flood control container for all stormwater from Agidingbi, Ikeja, Ogba, Alausa, as it had also shielded Magodo from soil erosion, flooding and flood-related diseases and disasters over the decades.
He said forcing access to the wetland through Magodo Phase II in the proposed urban development scheme will have consequences for the existence of Magodo Phase II and its residents, adding that using Magodo GRA Phase II to access the wetland is to destroy the fragile infrastructure the residents have collectively managed and maintained and with supports from the Lagos State Government.
Also speaking, a journalist and resident in the Estate, Mr. Mojeed Jamiu, urged Governor Sanwo-Olu to caution the Commissioner of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Oluyinka Olumide and other government officials, from allowing land speculators and developers to have access to the wetland through the Estate.
“Why we are calling for Mr. Governor’s intervention is the fact that we have a Commissioner of Physical Planning, Dr. Oluyinka Olumide, who is supporting the Omo Onile (land grabbers); who backed them to pull down our structure and two weeks later, a Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Tokunbo Wahab came here and said no to any building on wetland. So, we have conflicting signals from two commissioners of the same government. So, we want Mr. Governor, who is also a Surveyor and understands the terrain to intervene.
“The Governor should intervene and call his Commissioner to order because we can see that there are selfish interests involved. The Commissioner for Physical Planning is backing Omo Onile against an estate of over 16,000 people. We want Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who we know is upright and true to his word, to come to our rescue and give a clear directive on who we are to obey between the Commissioner for Environment and Commissioner for Physical Planning.”