Lagos State Set to Demolish Hundreds of Houses in Festac Town

by Ikem Emmanuel

The Federal Housing Authority (FHA) has identified 677 houses for complete demolition and an additional 744 for partial demolition in Festac Town, Amuwo-Odofin area, in a purported effort to eliminate unauthorized constructions in Lagos State. The decision has sparked controversy, with allegations of targeted discrimination against the Igbo community, which dominates the affected area.

The Southwest Zonal Manager of FHA, Mr. Akintola Olagbemiro, revealed the extensive demolition plan during an on-the-spot assessment of the affected region. Olagbemiro expressed concern over developers erecting structures in swampy areas without meeting the necessary requirements, despite previous warnings through letters and stakeholders’ meetings.

“Festac Phase 2, which we labelled as property belonging to FHA, has experienced encroachment and illegal development, turning the area into a slum,” lamented Olagbemiro.

The Deputy General Manager of FHA, Urban and Regional Planning, Southwest, Francisca Michael-James, voiced frustration over developers’ persistent refusal to comply with directives to halt construction. She disclosed that the agency is now seeking security backup to carry out the demolitions.

In response to criticisms and accusations of bias, especially from the Igbo community dominant in the area, Michael-James clarified that the enforcement action is not targeted at any particular group but is a necessary step to address illegal structures.

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She explained, “In the law, if we demolish, we are supposed to penalize the owner of the building and charge for the fees for the cost of carrying out the operation. Assuming any of the buildings collapsed, the landlord will be charged for manslaughter.”

Despite this explanation, many Igbos in the affected region perceive the government’s actions as a form of witch-hunting, alleging a targeted plan to eject the Igbo community from Lagos. They argue that the houses were initially approved, questioning the sudden change in plans, particularly in areas predominantly inhabited by the Igbo population.

As the controversy intensifies, the Lagos State government faces mounting pressure to address the concerns raised by residents, ensuring that the demolition process is transparent, fair, and devoid of any discriminatory motives.

AnaedOonline News

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