The Lagos State government has demolished no fewer than 200 houses in the Iwaya Abete area of the city metropolis. Our correspondent reported that numerous residents said they could not fathom why the State government demolished every building in the Balogun extension of Iwaya, Yaba.
Several residents described the demolition as unjust, asserting that the government gave them no notice before the demolitions took place. According to them, the state government gave them no time to either relocate or take their prized belongings out of their homes before the demolitions began. The absence of any prior warning caused a lot of uproar and confusion as the demolition took place, with many victims bemoaning the loss of their accommodation as well as belongings trapped in the massive wreckage.
One resident, who simply identified himself as Ademola, said the government’s action was callous and came unexpectedly. He and other residents accused the Lagos State government of harboring an illicit secret intention to sell the area to a few privileged people.
“The demolition came suddenly. Nobody was prepared for it, and we couldn’t move out our things before they started the demolition. We cannot point to anything in particular that led to the demolition, but we suspect that the government has their motive for carrying out this demolition today.”
Speaking with our correspondent, another resident described Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State of not being people-friendly, adding that the governor was only concerned about self-enrichment and creating wealth for his cronies.
“What happened here today showed that the government has no care and is not concerned with the welfare of ordinary people. We have been told some very influential people who have money want to turn this place into an estate. And they’re doing this by rendering thousands of people homeless. This [demolition] was impromptu. Nobody was notified. They just came and started to destroy people’s properties,” he said.
The resident added that the demolition would only aggravate the poverty level in the area as well as the country.
Onikan Gbenga Adebiyi, a former councilor in Iwaya whose house was among those demolished, vowed that the people would fight for their rights by proceeding to court. “We will go to court to fight for our rights and entitlements because there was no due notice to residents regarding the demolition. Houses were demolished and people were being harassed during the demolition process,” he said.
Some of the residents appealed to humanitarian organizations, Nigerian and international, to intervene in order to ensure that the displaced residents receive appropriate compensation for their losses. They also urged Governor Ambode to show empathy for their plight by arranging for their proper relocation and resettlement in alternative accommodations.