Ogun State Government on Saturday sealed off two dilapidated buildings in Abeokuta and ordered occupants of the houses to move out within 24 hours.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Urban and Physical Planning, Mr Nafiu Adebiyi, told newsmen during an inspection tour that 526 other houses built on water ways, canal and erosion channels had been marked for demolition across the state.
Adebiyi said at the scene that the order became necessary to prevent loss of lives and other possible disaster which could arise from the partially collapsed buildings.
The two buildings are located on NEPA road in Isabo area of the state capital.
“As a responsible government, we cannot continue to watch and allow the buildings to collapse totally while people still reside in them,” he said.
Adebiyi said that the government was only waiting for response from National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) which had promised to provide alternative shelters for the affected victims before demolition could be effected.
“Demolition of houses is not what can be done in a hurry, no matter how illegal such structures are. In as much as human beings live in such houses, we must follow the rules in carrying out such demolitions,” he said.
He affirmed that government’s intention was to ensure that nobody was negatively affected as a result of preventable natural disaster which was predicted by the National Metrological Agency (NIMET) earlier in the year.
“It is not easy to dislocate people from their comfort zone. That is why we are approaching the process with human face. More so, many houses affected were not illegally located because as at the time most of them were built, those places were not close to water banks.
“It is the challenge of climate change that made the water levels to begin to rise, with resultant erosion. We are being careful so that we don’t solve a problem by creating another one,” he said. The Nation