Lagos shuts Access Bank, others over illegal property conversion

Access Bank

The Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) on Tuesday shut down five banks and over 80 buildings on Allen Avenue, in Ikeja over illegal conversion.

The affected banks are Access, Zenith, Sterling, Unity and UBA.

Also shut were Tantalizer, Adebowale Electronics, Panasonic and several other buildings used for commercial purposes.

LABSCA officials, accompanied by task force officials, began the sealing exercise from Allen Roundabout all through to the end of Allen on both sides of the dual carriageway around 7:45 am, beginning with Tantalizer.

The exercise was led by Mr. Tayo Fakolujo, LASBCA Secretary and Mr Kayode Daramola, a director in the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPPA).

General Manager, LASBCA, Engr. Lekan Shodeinde, said the affected buildings had been issued notices over one month ago to come forward to regularise their documents and get commercial approval, but that only few property owners whose buildings had been converted to commercial purposes showed up.

He said under the physical planning law, a residential property must obtain due permit before it could be converted to commercial, saying that it was inappropriate to convert a residential property to commercial.

Shodeinde said LASBCA had been given the mandate to carry out an audit on buildings in Lagos State for safety purposes and ensure that people did not take laws into their hands.

He said the government had also given six months grace period for people who did not have permit before erecting their structures to regularise them without paying the penalties for such violations.

The LASBCA boss lamented that owners of properties served notices on Allen Avenue did not come forward to regularise their papers, hence the need to enforce the law for compliance purpose.

According to him, the government would no longer tolerate illegal conversion of residential properties to commercial without permit, as the law would descend heavily on those who trampled under the law.