MIFFED at the seeming distortion in Lekki Peninsula masterplan by developers, professionals in the built environment have charged the state authorities to ensure total compliance to the existing layout.
The masterplan developed some year’s ago by a consultant, Messrs Dal Handazzar was conceived to allow free-flow of traffic, free-flow drainage system and a compact corridor. However, developers have flouted this physical planning regulation. For instance, the master plan mandated every housing estate in Lekki corridor to link their drainage to each other and also link water flow to the primary drainage that would be constructed along the coastal alignment.
A former Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, who superintended the master plan, Mr. Francisco Abosede, said: “But till date, each estate has its drainage that doesn’t link to each other”, he said. Abosede expressed need for effective monitoring, to ensure the corridor is not turned to another slum.
Some experts who spoke with The Guardian on the situation, said, total deviation from master plan is hurting the area. Immediate Past President Africa Union of Architects Chief Tokunbo Omisore noted “on-going Lekki development will continue to unfold surprises, if we do not ensure population control at both state and national levels. Housing infrastructures in that locality will grow from ideal housing estates to slums over time, if the population remains unchecked.
“Poor population control in economically challenged communities is a catalyst for poverty and corruption. An unchecked population will continue to make infrastructural developments inadequate and most especially create more vices and security challenges.
The Africa Union of Architects, a lead partner of the UN-Habitat World Urban Campaign spent the last four years studying the peculiar developmental problems in her 40- member countries, and from our continued professional development programmes realized that Africa must control her population and promote Urban – Rural developments to become sustainable.
Lekki Corridor may today be a concern but so are others not mentioned or considered. For as long as our leaders continue to plan our budgets for communities without awareness of their existence or needs, these problems will persist. Rather than facing the reality of our problems, we continue to copy the developed nations that have a limited and controlled population.
“No professional body can guide and continue to provide for an uncontrolled population at affordable costs and be sustainable”, Omisore affirmed.
Expressing his concern over what he described as ‘blatant disregard for planning laws in the metropolis, Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Wasiu Anifowoshe, said government will not hesitate to wield a big stick against any offenders.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Propertygate, Mr. Adetokunbo Ajayi, recently lamented that lack of approved layouts for various housing schemes and other developments along Lekki Peninsula, which he said, has been the bane of the uncontrolled physical development at the corridor.
Ajayi, who described the nature of expansion of Lekki Peninsula as ‘worrisome’, said the situation was complicated by government’s mass land acquisition policy, which is not followed up with appropriate schemes through which the people can purchase land and develop in compliance with legal requirements.
He argued that developments along the corridor have continue to spring up as the increase in population of Lagos residents has to respond to natural need for shelter.
Describing Lekki Peninsula as the fastest growing corridor in Africa, Propertygate boss noted that plans are very important for great cities, pointing out that if there is discipline in the implementation of Lekki layout, the development of the Peninsula will look the way it should be.
According to him, good planning will inform the emergence of good cities, pointing out however, that the undeveloped vast land in Lekki Peninsula around 1990 would have been an opportunity for Lagos state government to create a new city in Lekki corridor, but the state government did no seize the opportunity to create the new city by approving layouts for developments in the area.
Prince Adebayo Balogun, proprietor of Craft Home Limited, a private developer noted that the retail sector has opened another chapter in the corridor.
He called for attention on the growing trend in shopping mall along the corridor, and their implication on the traffic within the area.
His words: “Besides, in Lekki here, there is no public school, no public health centre and there is no public market, yet, not all the residents are within the category of upper echelon, who can afford private school, private clinic and shopping mall.”
“So, if there is no formal provision of these amenities, in future, some people will come and capitalize on it and create problems. Therefore, government need to ensure their provisions now”, said Ademulegun.
In a press statement signed by Mr. Mutair Ajao, Head, Public Relations Department, Ministry for Physical Planning and Urban Development, said the Commissioner was surprised by what he saw in places such as Lekki, Sari-Iganmu, Ikoyi and other locations, where he said it would not be possible for any developer or individual project owners to embark on development without recourse to the town planning laws and guidelines in the state.
For instance, at the Lekki Phases 1 Residential scheme, the commissioner applied a “Stop Work Order”, on a building site along Wole Olateju Street, Lekki Phase 1. The order, he said, became imperative because the development was said to a flagrant disobedience to the Physical Planning and Urban Development Laws and Regulations.
According to him, despite the serving of necessary statutory notices including stop work order by the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LSBCA), the developer continued with the extension works on the existing building outside the statutory setback earlier observed.
“The building was almost touching the electricity service cable along the street. Government would not hesitate to wield the big stick by demolishing buildings that are not in conformity with enabling Laws in the State and this high level of impunity in the building industry must stop”, he warned.
n the same locality, where he said illegal and haphazard development has become a rule rather than exception, especially, at the Lagoon Front, Anifowoshe was miffed by the encroachment into the Cowrie Creek by individuals carrying out development at the Lagoon Front.
“This situation can not be allowed. We wouldn’t allow any group or individual to continue this act of disregard for planning laws and guidelines, thus, every Lagos residents must abide by the relevant Laws and Guidelines that cover the corridor, including infringement on Right- of- Way (RoW) of high tension electric cables and drainage channels at the Lekki Lagoon front”, he said.