Posted by Sade Williams
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has explained that the owners of 13 buildings recently demolished in Ajao Estate in Lagos, encroached on the land presently housing the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.
In a statement clarifying the demolition case, Mrs. Faithful Hope-Ivbaze, FAAN spokesperson, explained that owners of the buildings were dully notified and were warned of the dangers of the buildings on waterways, pipelines and perimeter fences, blocking access to security patrol.
According to the statement, the area of land presently housing the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos was acquired for public use by the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Lands Acquisition Ordinance by FGN Official Gazettes in 1944, 1972, and 1975 respectively.
It explained further that that sometimes in the year 2000, the Authority noticed some encroachments within its acquired land in Lagos and a committee was set up to investigate and compel those encroaching to cease and desist from such actions.
The committee, it said, thus put up “Caveat Emptors” and positioned them strategically within the areas under encroachment( they are still in place). Publications were done in national dailies and advertorial jingles in local radio stations, warning people of the risks in purchasing and building on Restricted Aviation Land without consideration to the direct dangers on aircraft operations and the building occupants themselves.
While it added that the warnings were not heeded, the statement continued that in 2008, some residents of Ajao axis of the encroached land, under the aegis of “Runview Cooperative” approached the Authority for regularisation of their stay on the land.
“To avoid a situation of wanton damage and colossal losses, the present administration on assuming office, inaugurated a “Regularization Committee on FAAN Encroached Lands and Property “. The committee,was charged with finding ways of identifying and regularizing only those properties located in positions that do not pose a direct and critical challenges to airport safety and Security.
“The FAAN directorates of Airport Operations and Aviation security commenced stakeholders’ engagements and met severally with the residents of the Ajao axis( all meetings recorded and filed) bringing to their knowledge the dangers of erecting houses on pipelines, water ways and the airport’s perimeter fence( blocking access for security patrols). Most of the residents cooperated, except for the few who ignored and continued erecting their structures in the “RED ZONES”.
“In the committee’s report submitted in 2022, out of 254 buildings evaluated, 220 buildings were recommended for regularisation, as they pose no direct/critical security and safety challenges to the Airport. They have been duly regualarised.
“The 34 others that were built within FAAN’s perimeter fence and mostly erected above the aviation fuel pipeline and water ways, clearly posing direct safety and security challenges to the Airport as well as to their owners/ occupants themselves were marked for demolition.
“The occupants of these buildings were duly notified of the impending demolitions, and intensive awareness campaign through “stop work” markings and planting of notice boards within the Red Zone.”, the Authority said.
It noted further that in Sept 2022, FAAN wrote to Lagos State Government for their cooperation in conducting this exercise in the interest of Aviation and Communal Safety and Security.
“The removal of illegal structures is also scheduled to be carried out at all other airports that have similar challenges.”, it added.
The Authority has however, advised all illegal occupants to relocate from all airports lands for their own safety and security.