Residents kick as private developers ‘invade’ Lagos highbrow estates
Increasingly, residents of planned highbrow estates are rising in opposition to the entry of private estates and investors into their estates, citing invasion/infringement on their privacy and distortion of the approved master plan.
A couple of years ago, Banana Island residents in Ikoyi rose against the proposed development of Apple Island by the Nigerian Army Properties Limited (NAPL). The proposed island was to be located 400 meters off the shoreline of Banana Island.
It was to sit on 45 hectares, with a total of 131 plots. The island was to consist of a shopping mall, guest house, police station, mosque, and clubhouse. That protest paid off as the project was suspended.
Recently, residents of Osborne Foreshore Phase II Estate, a sprawling residential neighbourhood in Lagos, also rose in opposition to some developments being undertaken by private developers.
Their reason is the violation of officially approved building plans by private estate developers and investors which, for them, is enough cause to scream and seek government’s intervention.
The wrongful classification of Osborne Foreshore Phase II from a low-density to a high-density residential estate, which gives private developers licence to build multi-family units, is another reason they are kicking.
The estate which is located immediately after Osborne Phase 1, coming from Parkview Estate end, is a highbrow settlement, sitting directly opposite Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos.
In the last 12-16 months, the residents, under the aegis of Osborne Foreshore Residents Association (OSFRA), have been having running battle with a private developer, Lekki Gardens Estate, over what they alleged was an infraction and contravention of Lagos State’s planning laws.
“Lekki Gardens got planning approval for five family housing units on about 1,500 square metres of land but has developed 25 family units. On a similar land size, the developer had approval for 28 family units but increased it to 84 family units without any consideration for car parks,” the residents noted in a letter signed by Chinwe EzenwaMbah and Steve Omojafor,
OSFRA II Chairperson and Chairman, Board of Trustees, respectively.
According to OSFRA II, the developer, on yet another location within the estate, developed 78 family units in clear and brazen violation of its approved building plan and without car parking lots or adequate consideration for organic waste management.
Lekki Gardens has, however, dismissed these allegations as contained the letter as defamatory and malicious, saying that it has all requisite approvals from constituted and legally empowered authorities for all its projects and is not in violation of any of the approvals.
The company noted that the estate is susceptible to flooding by virtue of its location. It disclosed that, contrary to claims, Lekki Gardens has contributed significantly to the infrastructural development of the estate by building a 299 metres perimeter drainage and 400 metres road on Acacia Drive.
“Periodically, we embark on a myriad of infrastructural development projects as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the management of the company revealed.
“In the last two years, Lekki Gardens has paid OSFRA the sum of N24.5 million as fees for infrastructure and development of the estate. OSFRA in its campaign of calumny has resorted to blaming every infraction on unrelated construction sites in the estate on Lekki Gardens even when they have the facts to the contrary,” the company said.
This controversy has got to a point where it has drawn the attention of the Lagos State government, leading to the convening of stakeholders meeting to review the estate’s approval order.
Though it was a shouting session as each of the two contending parties was aggrieved, an agreement was still reached that the ‘Approval Order and Operational Development Plan for the Osborne Foreshore Residential Scheme II Estate’ should be reviewed.
Idris Salako, the state’s Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, noted that the crave for the review of the extant Approval Order was not unconnected with the observed disparities in the Approval Order of Osborne Foreshore II and that of Banana Island, Ikoyi Southeast and Ikoyi Southwest, despite being of similar status and character.