Almost two months after the ruling by Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of the Lagos State High Court directing the resettlement of the forcefully evicted residents of Otodo Gbame, the Lagos State government has failed to comply with the ruling.
Many of the affected residents of the demolished community told SaharaReporters that they currently do not have permanent homes and are forced to move from one community to another. Some others were also seen rough sleeping, notably using boats as homes.
Mr. Ahissu Celestine, the leader of Otodo Gbame youths, told SaharaReporters that aside from depriving them of their homes, the forceful eviction of the waterfront community has also adversely affected the residents’ economic activities.
“We left Otodo Gbame not of our will. About 30,000 of us were forcefully evicted. We have not been living well because most of our belongings were burnt during the eviction. We are waiting for Lagos State government to resettle us or take us back to our land. The community has been in existence for over 100 years,” said Mr. Celestine.
Another resident, Mr. Omolayo Paul, described the conduct of the Lagos State government as inhuman. According to him, the evictees had hoped for resettlement after the court ruling, which has been treated with indifference by the administration of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, governor of Lagos State.
“After the last court ruling, our hopes were restored that we were returning to the community. But we got to know that the government is dissatisfied with the judgment and we are in dark as to what our fate will be. We have no place to go and we are being denied basic amenities of life,” Mr. Paul told SaharaReporters.
An evictee, who currently squats with in Badore Badore community, equally expressed disappointment at their treatment in the hands of the state government and its agents. He told this website that evictees have been informed that Otodo Gbame has been sand-filled, while its evicted residents are threatened with arrest whenever they go there for fishing.
“A few days after we were sent out, sand-filling of the area started. This shows insincerity on the part on the part of the government and provides a proof that the government is against the poor,” he said.
Otodo Gbame evictees have been clamoring to be resettled and provided basic amenities. They have appealed for assistance from international humanitarian organizations in the bid to be resettled and the rebuilding of their community.
In March, the Lagos State government officials and the Elegushi, abetted by Police, stormed the more than a century-old fishing community to order the residents out. Deploying a heavy hand, homes were demolished and razed. School buildings and a health center were burnt. The violence also claimed the lives of two residents, while five others went missing.