Following the discovery and listing of over 1000 abandoned properties in Ikoyi and Victoria Island, the Lagos state government has given the property owners a ninety-day ultimatum to take physical possession of such properties to ensure they are completed, restored and fit for habitation within 90 days or face prosecution or the option of facing prosecution.
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The directive is contained in a document, signed by Mr. Tunji Bello, Secretary to the State Government (SSG). He noted that squatters, miscreants, and criminal elements have taken over the abandoned properties where they perpetrate criminal activities, thus, depriving the residents of these areas of security, peace, and serenity hitherto identified with the areas.
The owners of these structures, which were claimed to harbour squatters or those who converted their structures to hotels and provided shelters to street traders who commit crimes under the cover of darkness are liable to prosecution that may attract a jail term of six months imprisonment or a fine of N250,000 or both.
Major streets, where abandoned properties are located in Victoria Island include Ahmadu Bello Way, Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Bishop Aboyade Cole Street, Samuel Manuwa Street, Sanusi Fafunwa Street, Karimu Kotun Street, Tiamiyu Savage Street, Ligali Ayorinde Avenue, Water Corporation Close, Ozumba Mbadiwe Avenue, Adeola Hopewell Road, Adeyemo Alakija, Idowu Martins, Kofo Abayomi, Saka Tinubu, Adeola Odeku and Akin Adesola Street.
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In my opinion, these properties have been abandoned for different reasons, one of which may be nonavailability of funds to complete them due to the recession. The ninety-day ultimatum, may not be good news for these property owners. However, something must be done to curb these favourable hideouts for criminal activities.
Obviously, real estate in Lagos has not been without its own challenges. Its starts right from generating funds to build, to getting buyers or tenants for the tastefully built property. This may not be a good one for property owners considering the limited cash.
I commend the government for this bold step. But we must also consider these property owners. Now buyers would take heed and beware of what property to buy and what not to buy. Overall, this may be bad business for the real estate stakeholders on the Lagos Island.