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Regulatory Breaches Lead to N1 Trillion Property Loss for Investors

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Lagos State’s property investors face over N1 trillion in losses due to corruption, poor enforcement, and lax monitoring by officials. A Guardian investigation revealed that government demolitions, targeting unauthorized construction wiped out N800 billion worth of properties in the last 14 months. Another N300 billion worth of structures could meet the same fate soon.

According to a report by This Day Live, areas like Lekki and Jankara have seen numerous buildings marked for demolition. With the highest construction costs in Africa, Lagos has high stakes in real estate, with land prices in Lekki reaching N86 million per plot.

The government recently demolished terraced houses in Ikota, each worth N85 million, adding to the over 8,000 structures razed so far. This crackdown affects a wide range of property owners. For example, last September, the Oluwa community in Ibeju-Lekki protested against the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development for marking their homes for demolition. Soon after, the Task Force and Special Offences Unit brought down properties totaling N400 billion in value.

In Kosofe Local Council’s Oworonshoki area, the government’s actions displaced over 40,000 households, citing the illegal conversion of wetlands. Even affluent neighborhoods like Banana Island and Lagos Island have seen demolitions.

Developers are losing properties, valued between N85 million to N150 million, as the government tackles illegal buildings to manage flooding risks. However, these actions, though meant for public good, are reducing investor confidence.

The state insists it’s acting in public interest by demolishing structures built on canal paths or without proper permits. A state-released drone photo showed extensive six-metre rule violations near canals, often overlooked by officials.

Homeowners in Lekki are left seeking absent developers post-demolition. Tokunbo Wahab, the Environment and Water Resources Commissioner stressed the government’s resolve to enforce order. He noted that property owners received notices since 2000.

Adebisi Adedire, president of the Town Planning Consultants Association, worries about the lost investments. He advises developers to follow the rules to avoid such losses.

Officials are now facing demands for more integrity and accountability. Jide Oke and Adedotun Bamigbola, from their respective quantity and estate surveyor institutions, emphasize the need for due diligence.

Human rights advocate Femi Falana and State Attorney General Lawal Pedro stress lawful adherence and due process. Pedro points out the governor’s mandate for strict enforcement.

As Lagos addresses these issues, a balanced approach to urban development that upholds laws and stakeholder rights is crucial.

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