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No going back on efforts to restore FESTAC’s lost glory – Ashafa

Managing Director, Federal Housing Authourity (FHA), Senator Gbenga Ashafa, on Wednesday vowed to sustain the ongoing efforts to return the lost glory of FESTAC Housing Estate, Lagos.

Ashafa said, at a meeting with stakeholders at the estate, the ongoing demolition of illegal structures was to give way for dredging a canal and dislodging illegal occupants.

Ashafa, represented by Mr Akintola Olagbemiro, FHA South West Zonal Manager, said the measure was to ensure a proper survey in line with the FESTAC master plan, to give possession to the real allottees.

He added that the demolition of illegal structures was not done to target religious organisations or any group as was being speculated in the media.

“Last Sunday, we started the implementation of the second phase of the consent judgment, which was for clearing the illegal structures within the buffer zones along the Second Avenue as well as the expressway.

“Before then, we had earlier implemented the first phase of the judgment, which was to dredge the canal along the buffer.

“This will allow the clearance for way to proper survey and development of percels of land along this axis in accordance with the master plan,” he said.

Ashafa said the measure was to keep his mandate of restoring the lost glory of FESTAC, adding that, several quit notices were served on the illegal occupants before the actual demolition was carried out.

“For those who think it is business as usual, we want to inform you that we will sustain this operation until the lost glory of FESTAC is restored; no amount of blackmail will stop us from achieving this goal,” he said.

He advised those on the Right of Way with valid approvals to bring thier papers to FHA to take appropriate action.

The stakeholders compromising FESTAC Town Residents Association, Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area, allottees groups, residents and Nigerian Police Force, said lack of sustainable action in the past had worsened the environmental and security challenges in the community.

Chairman, Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area, Mr Valentine Buraimoh, lauded the demolition but noted that the council was not informed to enable it offer advice.

“FHA should quickly look for a way forward so that the rightful owners can be handed over their property with the condition stipulated that they either develop or lose it.

“You have to be very cautious with security in FESTAC and if you don’t want to sit on a gun powder, that area should quickly be handed over to the owners for development,” he said.

Buraimoh denied allegations by some protesters who had earlier besieged the FHA gate claiming they paid revenue to the council for their shops and makeshift stalls.

President of FESTAC Town Resident Association (FTRA), Mr Shola Fakorede, said if any group or stakeholder was aggrieved by the recent development, it should be the allotees, whose property had been encroached on for almost 30 years.

He urged the management of the FHA to secure the property and also furnish the FTRA with the information of all the allotees so they could reach out to the families of those who are late to ensure they take possession to avoid a repetition.

Earlier protesters from the Agboju Plank Market besieged the FHA gate carrying placards demanding reversal of ongoing demolition of the market which began on Sunday.

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