Unbridled activities, poor hygiene and severe dilapidation at the Games Village Estate in Surulere, Lagos have turned the 46-year-old model estate into a junkyard, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
A detailed investigation by a NAN correspondent reveals that the estate has gone into total decay, rot and ruins because of all manners of activities being carried out at the estate by the residents.
The estate is home to about 2,600 residents most of whom are civil servants, working for the Federal Government.
The estate was inaugurated by the Federal Government in 1973 and used to house participants in the Second All Africa Games, hosted by Nigeria in 1973.
However, houses in the estate were sold to civil servants by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2005, in a gesture to make the workers to own their own houses.
But 14 years down the line, occupants of the houses have messed up the estate, some altering the original structures of the buildings to grab more space for selfish reasons.
NAN checks showed that most apartments on ground floors in the estate have been restructured and expanded to contain additional rooms, contrary to the terms of the agreement on the sale of the apartments.
In March this year, a resident of the estate was said to have deployed a plant to dispense Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) in the estate, a development that sparked protests by the residents.
It took the intervention of the new Federal Controller of Housing in Lagos State, Mrs Sarah Alawode, before the plant was removed after persistent outcry by the residents on the dangers of deploying LPG plant on the estate.
Checks also showed that shops have been erected indiscriminately on the estate to house drinking joints, gambling plazas and other outfits, making the estate relaxation spot for hoodlums and gangsters and criminals.
A spokesman for the Games Village Residents Association, Mr George Mordi, lamented that inability of the Federal Ministry of Housing to enforce regulations had made residents to behave as they liked.
He said that ministry officials were always not showing sufficient interest each time infractions were committed by unscrupulous residents, especially when apartments were re-modelled by occupants.
Mordi, who is also the general secretary of the association, alleged that ministry officials had often collected bribes from residents, wanting to violate the original structures of the buildings.
NAN correspondent was shown various mansions built by some residents in utter disregard to the master plan of the estate.
Mordi lamented that the estate had also gone without portable water for many years after the water reservoir supplying water to the estate was dismantled by “a big man who bought a section of the estate’’.
The scribe lamented what he described as the embarrassing sanitary condition of the estate, saying that residents had been buying water from water vendors over the years because of a lack of water in the estate.
“Some residents resorted to sinking boreholes that is why everywhere looks disorganized because such facilities are not supposed to be deployed indiscriminately.
“The Federal Government is supposed to be our regulator and since they sold this place to us. We have been crying for help but they hardly respond to our plights,’’ Mordi stated.
Similarly, a zonal chairman in the estate, Mr Patrick Oboko, appealed to government to tackle infrastructure decay and other challenges in the estate.
“Robbers have been coming to the estate to steal our cars. We organize our own vigilantes and barricade our gates because of poor security. We appeal to government to come to our help.
“All roads in the estate are bad with pot holes all over the place from block one to block 17. Residing in Games Village has become a nightmare,’’ he said.