*Urges stakeholders, residents to support exercise
By Adeyemi Robinson-Adefioye, Lagos
Lagos State Infrastructure Maintenance and Regulatory Agency (LASIMRA) has said that it would commence audit of underground and over the ground utility infrastructures within the geographical boundaries of the State in January 2017 to ascertain the quality and quantum of the infrastructures and guide in proper regulation and planning.
Chief Executive Officer of LASIMRA, Mr. Babajide Odekunle, who disclosed this at a Stakeholders’ Forum with telecommunication service providers and others, said the audit became imperative owing to the urgent need to determine the actual telecommunication and water cables as well as gas and water pipelines under the ground and on the ground for effective planning especially with regards to development and redevelopment of the city.
Odekunle said the State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has already given approval and necessary support for commencement of the audit, while other agencies of government which will be involved in the management of effect of the exercise have been adequately sensitized on their roles.
He said the agency was very much determined to sanitize the process of erecting infrastructures within the boundaries of the State, as such would go a long way in ensuring sanity and address issues associated with non-compliance with global best practices.
He said: “It is about time we have a database of all utility infrastructures within the geographical boundaries of Lagos State. LASIMRA was set up in 2004 to monitor, manage and control utility infrastructure within the geographical boundaries of Lagos State in the critical sectoral areas of telecommunication, power, gas and water.
“As at today, there is no record of all these things and se we need to carry out an inventory. Some of the cables and pipelines underground are going to ten years or more. We have just been lucky so far, but the State needs to do this. If anybody should ask, how many roof towers do we have in Lagos State, nobody can say; how many towers do we have in the Greenfield, nobody can say; what is the distance or length of the fibres under the ground, nobody can say.
“So, we need to know what is where. Under the ground in this state we have gas pipes, electricity cables, water pipes, telecommunication cables and yet we cannot say on Isaac John for instance, this is what we have under the ground and so we just need to do this audit and the time is now.
“At the end of the exercise, an as built database will become a most sought after information system that will become a guide to the future of our State,” Odekunle said.
While urging the stakeholders to cooperate with government in its bid to sanitize the sector, Odekunle said in as much as government has made adequate preparation for a hitch-free exercise, nonetheless members of the public should also cooperate with government in that regard.
In his technical presentation at the forum, Managing Director of Critical Infrastructure Services Limited, Mr. C.O. Obike said telecommunication remained very strategic to the economy and national security, and as such, all stakeholders must play by the rules.
He condemned the practice whereby telecom operators construct beyond the approved kilometres for the purpose of erecting cables underground, and the laying of cables inside drainages, saying such often times, resulted in the blockage of the drainage channels which eventually leads to flooding.