Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Wednesday, visited Martins Street on the Lagos Island to sympathise with Balogun Market traders, following an inferno that completely razed a five-storey building in the market on Tuesday.
Although, there was no casualty in the fire incident that gutted the building accommodating scores of clothing shops, traders lost materials worth millions of Naira in the inferno.
Sanwo-Olu identified with those whose shops were razed, but called for calm as Government’s emergency response team made efforts to salvage other valuables left in the building.
The Governor, however, said the fire incident brought out the need for total regeneration of Lagos Island to prevent incidents that could endanger the lives of residents. The move, Sanwo-Olu added, would include a meeting with owners of some abandoned high-rise buildings dotting the area for possible use of the property.
Besides, he said the Government would be conducting integrity test on all buildings in the Central Business District (CBD) on Lagos Island, adding that his administration would re-visit the regeneration master plan already designed by previous administrations. He urged all families that own property on the Lagos Island to support the move.
Sanwo-Olu said: “This fire incident presents discussion for complete regeneration of Lagos. Here, we have a lot of buildings as old as a century. Now is the time to look into the master plan for complete regeneration of entire area. All families must support our move to start the regeneration.
“We also have abandoned high-rise buildings on the Island and we have done audit of all these buildings. We need to have conversation with the owners on how we can put the abandoned property to better use. There are a lot of traders who wish to take away their wares from the road and occupy these abandoned building. We need to talk the owners and reach an agreement on a scheme that would make traders use the abandoned property.”
Sanwo-Olu condemned the hazardous and unsafe conditions created by some traders, who used heavy generating set on topmost floors of multiple-storey buildings in the market. The Governor said the integrity test to be embarked on by the Government would ensure enforcement of structural codes to desist traders from creating condition that would endanger lives and property.
The Governor also said administration would build the Phase II of the Oluwole Modern Market to discourage street trading. The market, he said, would eliminate incidents of fire and other hazards associated with uncoordinated trading.
Sanwo-Olu said the State could not longer tolerate recklessness in market allocations by officials of Local Government Area, disclosing that he had called for an emergency meeting with council chairmen for discussion on shop allocations across markets within the State.
He said: “I have summoned an emergency meeting with all Local Government Areas chairmen later today. We cannot condone reckless approach in which shops are located to people in manner that is not coordinated. When problems arise, it comes back to State Government. We will not fold our arms and wait for disasters like this to repeat itself.”
The Governor said the fire incident should serve as a pointer to us on the need to place high premium on safety of lives and wares in market place. He said the Government would hasten up its discussion with electricity distribution companies for regular power supply to markets.
Sanwo-Olu promised that the Government would support traders whose means of livelihood were destroyed in the incident.