The Lagos State Government, on Thursday, handed over four hectares of land to the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos for the construction of Bethlehem Girls College that was affected by the unfortunate incident of March 15, 2020, which led to the death and displacement of some residents of the Abule-Ado area of Lagos State.
Presenting the land documents to the representatives of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, on behalf of the State Government, the Commissioner for Special Duties and lnter-Governmental Relations, Engr. Tayo Bamgbose-Martins, said that the decision was in fulfilment of the promise of the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Deputy Governor Obafemi Hamzat for an inclusive Lagos.
Engr. Bamgbose-Martins explained that the handover took this long because the Government needed to ensure that the location of the land will be convenient for students and staff of the school.
The Commissioner informed that though there were several buildings affected by the incident, the level of damage done to the Bethlehem Girl’s College at Abule-Ado was quite huge and very devastating, hence the support of the State Government in this regard.
While highlighting immediate interventions by the State Governor following the incident last year, the Commissioner revealed that Mr. Governor visited the scene of the explosion, constituted the Ado-Soba Emergency Relief Committee and started off the Emergency Relief Fund with a donation of N250 million from the State Government and additional donations made by private organisations and individuals.
He said, “The family of each of the 23 deceased persons was presented with a cheque of N2.5 million. Thus the State Government gave the families a total sum of N57.5 million. We also went ahead to pay the hospitals bills of victims admitted to Naval Hospital, LASUTH and the Orthopaedic hospital”.
“Aside from that, 102 internally displaced persons from the Abule-Ado explosion were accommodated at the LASEMA Relief Camp, Agbowa for six months. The cost of this accommodation and the feeding of these persons was borne entirely by the State Government. Also on exit from the camp, each family and individual was given cash stipends to ease their integration into the Society”, Bamgbose-Martins added.
The Commissioner also averred that the State Government expended funds on other activities to alleviate the distress of the residents when the incident happened, stressing that the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu led administration, through the State Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, paid the Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) the sum of N50 million for repairs and replacement of the damaged equipment.
Among other efforts by the State Government, according to him, was the engagement of a team of professionals to conduct an assessment of the structural integrity of 315 buildings at no cost to the owners of the buildings.
Responding, the representatives from the Archdiocese of Lagos State, Monsignor Oduntan, applauded the State government for bringing succour to the victims of the Abule-Ado disaster.
He also commended the present administration for the donation of the four hectares of land and prayed that such calamity will never again happen in the State.
Other top officials present at the event included the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Idris Salako and Chairman Amuwo-Odofin LGA, Valentine Braimoh among others.