Stakeholders push for fresh Lagos Island regeneration project

The Adeniji Adele Estate in Lagos Central Business District

Stakeholders have made fresh moves for the regeneration of Adeniji-Adele estate in Lagos Island and Divine Idi-Ori estate, Ajegunle, in Ifedolun local council of the state. The move is aimed at changing the poor state of houses in the two estates and to mitigate flooding in the affected schemes.The stakeholders said there is need to engage the government to resurrect previous plans to tackle the problems in the informal settlement in Ajegunle and formal settlement at Adeniji Adele to improve the housing infrastructure and confront building collapse frontally.

A city tour to the estates, organised by Arctic Infrastructure (AI) and Heinrich Boll Stiftung (hbs), last week, revealed the intersection points among physical planning, environment, community infrastructure and housing. It also provided a common platform to assess and suggest practical solutions to flooding.

Adeniji- Adele estate is a low income housing development, which comprises 120 residential blocks of two bedroom and three bedroom apartments in four phases. It was commissioned during Alhaji Lateef Jakande administration in the 80s, while Divine estate is an informal development within Idi-Ori community in Ajeremi-Ifelodun local council created in 1991.

The Idi-Ori area lies within the Lagos flood plain and is historically swampland. Residents began development efforts in the late 90s by infilling the swamp with municipal waste and subsequently with sand fill to accommodate buildings.

The topography of Idi-Ori is relatively flat with the highest elevations from 6m-1 m above sea level with storm water draining into the area and contributing to an increased flood risk within the area.The estate also have the challenge of inadequate and poorly maintained drainage infrastructure leaving the community with no means of channeling storm water out of the community, thereby intensifying the impact and severity of flood occurrences.

The majority of the housing on the estate is of poor structural quality, with inadequate sanitation facilities.Driven by the trend towards urbanisation and the need for more housing, waste in fill in order to reclaim land for development bears severe consequences not only in terms of pollution but also contributes to the blocking of drainage channels

Project director for Artic Infrastructure, Lookman Oshodi said the tour was to appreciate the exigencies of general living conditions of people, mostly by housing and environment officials to understand where we are coming from and how the new government can help in providing them with most essential need housing in a conducive and habitable environment.

He stressed that the new move was an offshoot of the Development Envision Lab (LAGDEL 2018), which analyzed, discussed and presented scenario and living pattern vis-à-vis similar visit to Eko Atlantic a formal housing setting to appreciate the conditions of other parts of Lagos community.

According to him, since 70 per cent of Lagos residents live in slums, the responsibility is to redevelop and rehabilitate the city of Lagos.

The issue, he said is to involve relevant stakeholders including the private sectors, senior government officials on housing matters, donor organizations and professionals in the sector since. Government cannot do it alone.

Lamenting the ugly state of Adeniji-Adele housing estate, Chairman of the Community Development Association, (CDA), Alhaji Razak Mybi noted that the once desired estate commissioned in the 80s has become an eyesore due to insensitivity on the path of government and sand filling at Ilubrin, which triggered flooding in 1994.He stressed that previous efforts by the government through the Lagos State Urban Renewal Authority, (LASURA) to regenerate the estate was thwarted by the last administration.

According him, during Babatunde Fashola administration, there was serious effort and we entered agreement that the regeneration exercise will be done in phases starting from four buildings, which was demolished and the occupants relocated at Iba.“ However, the administration of Akinwunmi Ambode declined to continue with the agreement, stressing that we should get a private developer as the state has no money but when we got UAC property, who are ready to do it at no cost to government, the governor refused to sign leaving us in this pitiable state which led to a loss of a young boy to flood.

Also the Baale of Idi-Ori, Chief Oluwafemi Mathew, who said the free land settlement, existed in 1918 but became a jungle because of neglect want urgent government attention to save the over 7,000 people living the estate.

Tracing the origin of the estate located at Ajegunle, he stressed that his fore fathers were original occupants but left because of the state of affairs on the land until 1991, when the community came up again.

The traditional head however said the 2007 flood disaster affected the community severely because of un-cleared drains and as the drainage was last dredged in 2007.He called for government’s intervention in the informal settlement by providing good network and proper drainage in the estate.

Also the stakeholders are advising the review of the development of the newly discovered unnamed island near Osborne and further expansion of the Jankara/ Adeniji -Adele Channel (System 139), particularly the stretch adjacent to the Ilubirin Housing Estate in order to accommodate greater water flow allowance with Adeniji-Adele and environs as well as the redevelopment of the Divine Estate Idi Ori to improve structures and relocation of residents mostly at risk of flooding, utilising incremental social hosing approach.

But the chief town planning officer in the state’s Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Akeem Oladimeji, said the two communities are under existing government schemes, whereby LASURA is already planning regeneration before a change of plan.He stressed the need for the resuscitation of the regeneration exercise in Adeniji- Adele, while efforts should be made to redevelop Idi-Ori community to avert loss of lives and menace of flood in the area.

Applauding the approach being employed by the stakeholders, Oladimeji also stressed the need for residents to employ the services of private town planners to get government attention in the provision of affordable and livable houses for the residents through advocacies.

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