By Tope Templer Olaiya, Assistant Lagos City Editor
THE Minister of State for Defense, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, at the weekend replied the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, on his comments that the minister took soldiers to disrupt the ongoing Ilubirin Housing project on the Lagos Island.
Fashola had at an event last week decried attempts by Federal Government to take over reclaimed land at Ilubirin, earmarked for housing estate by the state government.
Speaking yesterday, Obanikoro said Fashola description of his personal visit to the planned Ilubirin housing estate as “Rambo like” was mischievous.
The minister, who is representing Lagos in the federal cabinet, noted that the governor has refused to get the required approval from the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA). “He has objected to getting an approval from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). He does not even want the consent of the Federal Ministry of Works. The location of his site breaks all the laws on set back requirements for highways and roads.
“Despite all pleas, the governor has turned deaf ears on economic hazard of his project. As at today, the only approvals he has are the ones he manufactured for himself using various state ministries, departments and agencies. I am still confused about the logic behind building houses underneath high electric-powered cables.
“As a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), I expect him to know that the construction is illegal. He needs to stop using the name of Alhaji Femi Okunnu to legalise his illegality. It only shows the recklessness and impunity that he governs with,” the minister said.
According to Obanikoro, it was suspicious that after being in office for over 15 years, the state government, with less than 15 months to go, is considering building affordable houses for Lagosians.
Obanikoro said:“ Surprisingly, Lagos State Government chooses to build these houses on the water. It is no longer a secret that most of the affordable housing communities in the world are built on land, not on the water.
“I have always supported housing projects, especially for families living in densely populated areas of the state. They need affordable houses. But the governor seems to have easily forgotten that Mosan-Okunola, Ijede, Ojokoro, Badagry are densely populated areas in Lagos. Residents in those areas have been crying for affordable houses since 1999.
“I know what affordable houses look like. My family and I lived in one of the good affordable houses built by former governor Lateef Jakande. Why does Fashola pretend not to know that 97 per cent of the families living in Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Alagbado, Agboyi-Ketu, Oke-Odo, Ayobo-Ipaja, Bariga, Epe and Igando do not have access to Government Housing Estates?
“Many families in Itire-Ikate can only afford to live in one room. Most Lagos State University (LASU) students still live in severely overpopulated environments. My advice to the governor is focus on building houses for families living in the areas that have the lowest house ownership rates like Ifelodun (4 per cent), Shomolu (8 per cent), or Mushin (8 per cent).”