The Lagos State government on Monday decried the conversion of residential buildings into religious centres by some property owners in the state.
In a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, Mr Habib Aruna, the government warned residents to desist from such act.
The Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dr Abdulhakeem Abdullateef, who gave the warning, said those involved were trying to avoid paying the Land Use Charge, stressing that it was important for all to operate within the ambit of the law.
“Do not convert your residential premises to religious premises. Many do that for the sake of being protected from paying their Land Use Charge and that will not be tolerated. Whatever we want to do, let us keep ourselves within the ambit of the law,” he said.
Referring to those who combine their residences with mosque or church, Abdullateef said although government would not demolish the structures, all residential premises are subject to Land Use Charge.
He, therefore, noted that when government officials go to such houses, the owners should not claim there is a mosque on the grand floor.
“Always know that as soon as your property is declared a residential block, you will pay Land Use Charge” the commissioner declared.
He revealed further that through the Ministries of Home Affairs and Physical Planning, the government had commenced moves to address the conversion of residential buildings to religious centres via engagement.
“It is a violation of the state regulations for residential buildings to be converted into religious centres. When a building is approved for a purpose, it is an aberration for you to now convert it into something else without the approval of the Ministry of Physical Planning,” Abdullateef said.
On noise pollution, he said the ministry had been working in concert with the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) to address the menace, especially through engagement with religious leaders.
He asked residents to report any incidence in their neighbourhood to the ministry, stating that officials would be deployed to address the situation immediately.