Lagos steps up demolition of illegal buildings

The Lagos state government has pledged to demolish illegal structures built around the city's fuel pipelines and drainage canals and under high tension electricity cable lines.

The environment commissioner Tunji Bello said that such illegal dwellings would be demolished at short notice and that nobody would receive state compensation for violating the building approval and environmental law. In particular Bello said that houses built "indiscriminately" along drainage channels interfere with the city's storm water system, exacerbating flooding problems in Lagos.

The city has been making a concerted effort in recent months to dredge its drainage canals of silt in advance of the upcoming rainy season which begins towards the end of October. The commissioner said that the state government would be launching an awareness programme soon to warn people of "the need to be aware of their environment and the danger of their actions."

The news comes as Lagos steps up its demolition of illegally-built or unsafe structures around the city, and follows a crackdown on illegal elements within the construction sector.

In May Lagos banned out-of-hours construction in a bid to tackle the activity of illegal builders, many of whom operate at night, at weekends and on public holidays, when they know inspectors are on duty.

The move was taken in light of a spate of building collapses around Lagos over the last year. In January Lagos tightened safety controls on building sites and introduced fines for builders caught in breach of the new regulations.