Fear in Lagos community as abandoned building transforms into hoodlums’ hideout

Written by on March 13, 2024

VICTOR AYENI writes that the activities of suspected criminals in an abandoned building around Tokunbo Kelani Street, in Igando, Lagos, are heightening fear among residents of the area

The residents of the Tokunbo Kelani community in the Igando area of Lagos State could hardly contain their fear as they pointed in the direction of an eerie abandoned building on their street.

The area, which is close to the Alimosho General Hospital, is often quiet during the day as residents go about their businesses.

But on most nights, residents described a surge of negative energy emanating from a certain abandoned building on the street which they insisted had become a haven for kidnappers and other shades of criminals.

From the Isheri-Igando Expressway, there is an access road at the General Hospital bus stop which leads into Akeem Oke Street which then links to Tokunbo Kelani Street.

When The PUNCH visited the area on Tuesday last week, landlords in the area complained of hearing strange noises coming from the abandoned building on some nights, including cries from some people pleading for their lives to be spared.

The building, a ground-floor structure with a decked roof, is situated at the intersection of Akeem Oke and Tokunbo Kelani streets.

Our correspondent gathered that though the building which had been abandoned for over 20 years and had been marked for demolition several times by Lagos State agencies, the planned demolition had not been enforced.

According to documents presented by landlords in the community, the building was wrongfully erected to obstruct the link road between Akeem Oke and Tokunbo Kelani, a development that residents said had led to several incidents of flooding in the area.

Our correspondent observed that the building was surrounded by two structures, one of which was a church tent suspended on wooden pillars.

The church had no benches or chairs, only an altar with a crucifix placed on it and three white plastic chairs stationed close to it. A censer was seen on the church’s bare earth floor.

The next closest building, though uncompleted, had plastered walls, doors, and windows, but The PUNCH learned that its owner, one Mrs Olufunlayo Olowoyo, had abandoned the structure.

The building is also an obstruction to drainages, hence causing serious floods during the rainy season into various houses on the street. Officials of the Lagos State Government, Lagos State Building Control Agency, and Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority have visited the place several times and marked the building for demolition in the past 20 years at different times, but the demolition has yet to be carried out.”

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