Residents of ‘B. Street’ in Shagari Low Cost Housing Estate, lpaja, Lagos, have asked the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) to intervene over illegal conversion of a popular recreational centre in the community into a housing project by some developers.
They alleged that the community was not consulted in the conversion of the location, which served as recreational spot for youths for over four decades. Resident thereby demanded that the authority should halt ongoing efforts to convert the centre into other uses.
The community said a major cause for concern is that such change of use will deprive many of the youths and the elderly of access to sporting activities, which might impact negatively on health conditions and communality spirit in the area.
They also fear that absence of the facility might force many of the youths to take up anti-social activities and breach the peace of the area.
The Guardian gathered that the recreational centre is about two plot of land designed for sporting activities in accordance with the master plan and design of the area since early 1980s.
Speaking to The Guardian, a source in the area, revealed that efforts by residents to seek clarification on the sudden change of use from the authority has not yielded positive outcome.
The source said: “We are demanding suspension of work on the disputed playing ground. Some officers of Ipaja Federal Housing Authority at Mosan Ipaja area have been involved in the arbitrary sale of government lands and facilities at the Shagari, Federal Low Cost Housing Estate, selling all existing facilities including children playing ground as well as turning the street to a close, without recourse to the local council authority.”
“The Federal officer was alleged to have colluded with the “B” Street, chairman and others on the street to execute the outright sale of children playing ground, thereby depriving the children and other users in the neighbourhood access to the facility”.
The source expressed worries about arbitrary sale of government lands in Ipaja housing authority area by desperate Housing authority officers, who hide under the pretext of “no one to hold us to account”
“ We therefore, call on the Federal Housing Minister to order the restoration of the original plan of the children playing ground, as well as the “B” street design, it was meant to be.”
Speaking with The Guardian, the Chairman, ‘B’ Street, Mr. Bewell Ayanwanwu, said the only authority to speak on the matter is the Federal Housing Authority.
“I don’t have anything to say about it. It is not my land, now or forever. Any enquiry should be referred to Glass House or Abuja to tell you more about their land. Although, l have my own house there, but l can only talk about my own house and not government’s land,” Ayanwanwu said.
Meanwhile, efforts to get reactions from the director of press, Federal Housing Authority, Kenneth Chigelu, were unsuccessful, as message sent/ calls made were not returned.