Demolition: CACOBAG Writes Open Letter to Governor Sanwo-Olu

Coalition Against Corruption and Bad Governance CACOBAG

336, Abeokuta Express way, Abule Egba, Lagos State, Nigeria.

Tel: 08050459608, 09091388625, 08065189147,07080075038


​​​​​​​​​2nd December, 2023

An Open Letter to the Governor of Lagos State.

His Excellency Babajide Sanwo-Olu,


Lagos State,




Dear Sir,


Corruption, no doubt has become a monster affecting every facet of the lives of Nigerians. Its corrosive effects on the country cannot be overemphasized.

1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as altered despite its flaws is unambiguous when it declares in Section 15 sub section 5, “the state shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of office”.

United Nations Convention against corruption frowns at betrayal of public trust. To what should we ascribe mortgaging the lives of Nigerians for money?

Besides food and water, the most important basic need of lives is shelter.

This makes it a welcome development that gladdens the minds of people that agencies, organisations and societies are working on this basic need of life.

There are Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), Nigerian Institute of Building, Shelter Rights Project and others.

It is sad and an irony that agencies of Government which people rely on are actually the ones mortgaging the lives of Nigerians due to lackadaisical attitudes and corruption.

It is in this regard that CACOBAG has to write this open letter to you, our governor in order to prevent further collapse of buildings which, in most cases, sent promising Nigerians to early grave.

CACOBAG is saddened that in respect of buildings that are being demolished in Lagos State, it is the building owners and tenants alone that  are being punished, leaving the compromised officials of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) to enjoy the proceeds of their crime.

Law and order are sacrosanct in organised societies. Building plan approval is a prerequisite for building construction. The Urban and Regional Planning Development Law 2010 that established LASBCA empowers its staff to monitor the environment and ensure that buildings under construction have approved building plans and do not deviate from the approved designs.

For effective monitoring, Lagos State was divided into districts with LASBCA

officials covering specific locations. Under this apportioned surveillance, it is virtually impossible for any building development in any part of Lagos State to escape the monitoring human radar in the LASBCA officials. That is why many buildings are marked in red X.

Whenever contraventions are discovered in a building construction, stop work order is applied. This is legally binding. Disobedience could lead to sealing of such building site. LASBCA enforcement team ensures no construction work proceeds.  Recalcitrant building owner or developer could even be arrested.

With this system in place, one wonders how buildings without approval would have been successfully developed beyond foundation or, at most, lintel level where the fence would no longer be able to hide construction activities.

Rampant collapse of buildings under construction in Lagos State is a clear indictment of LASBCA officials.

It is an open secret that LASBCA officials collect bribes to look the other way when building regulations are being violated. This criminal attitude of LASBCA officials encouraged and emboldened developers on infringement. Experiences of many developers are the undisputable testimony in this regard.

A LASBCA official, a registered builder named Wale Smith was alleged to have collected N500,000 from a developer. As a monitoring officer on the Lagos Island, he connived with the developer that demolished a 190 year-old national monument, Ilojo bar ( Olaiya House) at Tinubu Square, Lagos Island on Sunday, September 11, 2016. This Brazilian Heritage Building initially owned by the Fernandez Family was listed among Nigeria’s national monuments by the colonial government Antiquity Office, Gazette 25 Vol. 43 of April 6, 1955. Rather than being sent to jail, the LASBCA official was merely eased out of the civil service while the regulatory body, Council for Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON) overlooked the matter.

On November 1, 2019, a building of two storeyscollapsed at Glover Court, Ikoyi in Lagos under the watchful eye of a compromised LASBCA official, Femi Adesanya, who is a registered builder. The Lagos State Ministry of Justice set up a panel to punish the offender(s). After a while, the matter died down. The very weak Council for Registered Builders of Nigeria ( CORBON) did nothing to its member that erred. ThisLASBCA monitoring officer remains in the agency unscathed till today.

There are instances of mini estates that were developed, especially in Lekki Peninsula without building plan approval and with the connivance of the LASBCA monitoring officers. The General Manager of LASBCA, who sits in the office might not be fully aware of the atrocities his monitoring officers are committing in their various districts.

To substantiate the magnitude of the shady deals, kindly go through the investigations in the Pulse Special Report in its publication of May 2, 2022 titled, ‘ How Corruption in a Lagos agency gives way to building collapses in the metropolis.’ And also This Day newspaper investigation published on November 22, 2022 ( titled, ‘ Inside Story of Lagos Building Collapse where Regulators Mortgage Lives for as Low as N50, 000′.

In fact, Civil Society Groups have been compiling atrocities committed by LASBCA officials.

Honestly sir, perhaps due to your very busy schedule, you have not been paying attention to the corrupt escapades of your staff in LASBCA. There seems to bea rare anointing’ in the agency that makes millionaires out of ordinary civil servants overnight. Very easy sudden wealth without sweat!

The most annoying development is the recent elevation of some corrupt LASBCA officials to the Executive Council of the Nigerian Institute of Building in Lagos State.

Leading the team of the LASBCA officials in the seizure of the NIOB decision-making body in Lagos State is Thomas Adeyemi Adeoye, who was the LASBCA official that was expelled by Governor Ambode over his compromise that resulted in the collapse of Lekki Gardens building under construction, causing the death of many people on March 8, 2016 at Lekki in Lagos. Though you might not be aware of this, this element was reinstated during your administration through a suspicious court settlement that should be challenged.

How would the public rely or put their trust in such an organisation that ought to have declared such person a _persona non grata_ in and around the organisation’soffices?

Sadly, that organisation, NIOB known for its vehement campaign against building collapse has now been put in comatose.

It is erroneous for the Lagos State government to have allowed officials on the juicy monitoring work  stay too long on the job. Regular and sudden change of such officials should strategically destabilise their connivance with developers.

Moreover, the pertinent question is why are those LASBCA officials that committed offences are usually redeployed to the state’s Ministry of Works and Infrastructure or Ministry of Housing? Such important ministries should not be turned into garbage of corrupt LASBCA officials. Obviously, these ministries have become infested. The LASBCA produced millionaires that were retired into these two ministries should also be probed.

The danger of forgiving or overlooking offenders is that they become emboldened to commit greater havoc. Civil servants, who have been exposed for long to free money, deep corruption become incorrigible. Leopard does not change its spots.

Stupendous ill- gotten wealth drives a man’s quest for power. Inordinate ambition, of course, bends one’s principles and morality.

According to investigations, these super rich LASBCA and Ex- LASBCA corrupt officials have formed a secret cult for protection and influence. They determine the posting and promotion of the initiated members. That is why those that committed offence among them were hardly punished.

The Lagos State government should overcome its lackadaisical attitude as it has unknowingly built a silent monster through its building control agency. This underground monster if not demobilised might become too powerful and hence, throw up, in the near future, discreet challenges in the political setting of Lagos State. Forewarned is  forearmed.

The need to investigate the assets of civil servants before and after they were posted to LASBCA has become imperative. How frequently do they travel abroad?

In the checks and balances mechanism, the role of Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) is supposed to discover and correct errors committed by the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPA). If monitoring officers of LASBCA had lived up to expectations, this wanton destruction of economic buildings and the huge losses being inflicted on building owners and developers through demolition would have been nipped in the bud.

Sir, do not treat LASBCA staff as sacred cows. Pampering them for long has been counterproductive. Your first tenure, 2019 to 2023 recorded highest number of building collapses in the history of Lagos State. The greedy LASBCA officials sabotaged your tenure through compromise. Underestimating thepretending ordinary civil servants with the pauper likeoffice lifestyle but who are, in fact, bankers at home begets unexpected consequences.

Having been beneficiaries in the claimed illegal buildings that are now being demolished in Lagos State, the double agent LASBCA officials must not go scot-free.

However, hardworking and sincere LASBCA officials, once identified, should be preserved and retained in the agency. Those are the agents of positive growth.

The bad eggs, the dishonest officials in the agency that received monetary gratification from the owners of  buildings that are being demolished must be identified and weeded out of the agency. Immediate sanitisation of LASBCA is required.

His Excellency, our dear Governor, Kindly let equal justice prevail.

Yours faithfully,

Toyin Raheem

Chairman, CACOBAG


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