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Hundreds of Lagos residents rendered homeless in 4 communities

It was a rude shock for residents of Otto Ilogbo extension in Ebute Metta, Lagos, as their houses were demolished before their very eyes on…

It was a rude shock for residents of Otto Ilogbo extension in Ebute Metta, Lagos, as their houses were demolished before their very eyes on Friday, March 22, leaving hundreds of them homeless.

Otto-Ilogbo, a sprawling community situated underneath the bridges and flyovers located between Iddo and extending to the National Theatre area is always a beehive of human activities. The once bustling community has now become a deserted area with rubbles of planks and broken blocks of demolished buildings.

Daily Trust Saturday learnt that four communities were affected by the demolition. They include Ifesowapo, Ifeoluwa, Toluwani and Ilaje Otumara Community Development Association, CDAs, sparking public outrage.

The demolition, Daily Trust Saturday findings revealed, was part of the Lagos Urban Regeneration project aimed at addressing vulnerability of the communities that are prone to flooding, inadequacy of water and sanitation, poor transportation network and lack of social infrastructure.

Daily Trust Saturday gathered that the project was recommended by the Lagos Mainland Central Model City Plan (LMCMCP) 2013–2025 to deliver on new investments in housing, transportation, healthcare, green space, drainage, water and sanitation among other social and economic infrastructure.

The project aimed at bringing relief to the residents turned into a nightmare as they wailed at reversal of fortunes, claiming the demolition caught them without notice.

In an interview with the residents, they expressed their grief, saying the sudden demolition left a sour taste in their mouths.

The residents who wore agony on their faces said their shanties were burnt, leaving them to seek abode under the bridge since the demolition was carried out.

Narrating her ordeal, one of the residents Ovuefor Elizabeth who is a mother of two, said a team from the state government stormed the community and forcefully evicted them without prior notice.

“On Friday we were all outside, unaware and unannounced they came here and they told us that they were giving us ten minutes to vacate everywhere.

“Since the people here didn’t have anywhere to go to, we still hung around managing, and all of a sudden, they set everywhere ablaze. In our presence, they doused everywhere with petrol before setting it ablaze,” she said.

She pleaded with the state government to provide succour for the residents, adding that the residents are going through untold hardship.

“Our number one priority is housing; we must have a house as a citizen. They came here and forcefully evicted us out of the place where we didn’t even have plans of moving out in the next two or three months,” she said.

Another resident Emmanuel Peter also called on the state government to compensate them.

“We are asking the Lagos State government to send their representatives to see what is happening here and they should compensate us to enable us find another reasonable and comfortable place to stay,” he said.

Comrade Senny Ebisewa, the president, Communities Alliance Against Displacement (CAD), urged the state government to have a dialogue with the victims.

“Even though development will come to a society, it should come with negotiation with the people in the community. It is not bad if the kings and the Lagos State government have meetings with the community.

“If they want to chase people away, they should not chase them like animals. We have a government for the people and by the people but the government we have today is the government of the people that is using power on the people. The state government should have a dialogue with these people,” he said. 

We have written petition to Gov. Sanwo-Olu to summon the LG chairman, Oba – CDA

The Chairman, Community Development Association, (CDA), Itto-Ilogbo extension, Lagos Mainland Local Government, Agbodemu Musbau, revealed to our correspondent that the association has written a petition the Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to summon the local government chairman, Rashidat Essien and the community’s royal father, Oba Bashir Odesanya.

The copy of the letter made available to our correspondent, dated Monday March 25, 2024, with nine signatories under the aegis of victims and concerned Lagos mainlanders described the demolition as unlawful and acts of arson.

“These actions were carried out with apparent impunity, and there has been a shocking lack of accountability on the part of authorities responsible for ensuring the safety and security of the community,” the letter reads.

I was not informed the day of demolition – Lagos Mainland LG’s chairman Rashidat Essien

The chairman, Lagos Mainland Local Government, Mrs Rashidat Essien, confirmed that there has been an existing urban regeneration plan by the state government, saying that the victims were aware of the project.

However, she said she was not informed by the state government the date the demolition would be carried out.

“The whole of Otto was aware that it is going to affect them but that particular day they came to demolish the houses, I was not aware,” she said. 

I’m not aware – LASBCA’s PRO

The Director, Public Affairs, Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) Olusegun Olaoye when contacted said he was not aware of the demolition by the agency but promised to confirm if it was the agency that carried out the demolition.

“Until I talk with the enforcement officers, I can’t say anything because I am not aware,” he said.

Also, attempts to talk to the Special Adviser to the governor on Urban Development, Olajide Babatunde, proved abortive as he did not respond to calls and text messages sent to him by our correspondent.

 

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