Tired of the anti-masses policies of the Lagos State government under the control of Akinwunmi Ambode, street traders and Lagosians who have been displaced and evicted from their homes marched on the streets of Lagos on Tuesday to express their dissatisfaction with the governor and to demand his administration review its policies.
The Lagos State government has been engaged in landgrabbing and the demolition of waterfront communities. Land seized from the poor in Lagos State is then sold to real estate developers and other businesses with connections to the state government.
Most recently, the Lagos State government forcefully evicted residents of Mechanic Village in Surulere and demolished the community. SaharaReporters learned that the land where the village stood has been sold to one of the state government’s loyalists.
Condemning Governor Ambode for being insensitive to plight of the masses, the protesters bemoaned how the state government is driving the poor out of Lagos State by depriving them of their homes and means of livelihood.
One of the protesters, an evicted resident of Oto-Ilogbo, revealed that over 5,000 residents of Oto-Ilogbo community have been rendered homeless because of a demolition which was carried out by the state government. She further lamented that the community is lying fallow with no construction on the land as promised to them before the demolition.
“They demolish all our houses without no alternative and compensation. This is highly barbaric and we want the government to think twice because we voted them in. When Governor Jakande was in power, he built houses for the masses and we are still benefitting from those houses. However, the most recent governors in Lagos - Akinwunmi Ambode, Raji Fashola and Tinubu - have made life miserable for the poor.
“We are demanding a look into the system which would allow the masses to live a meaningful life in Lagos State. Nigeria and Lagos State is for everybody, not for the rich and influential people alone,” the protester stated.
Also speaking at the scene of the protest, the Deputy Chairperson of the Joint Action Front (JAF), Achike Jude, advised the Lagos State governor to see the masses as true citizens of the state and put measures in place that would make the stave livable for the poor.
“We are here to show that we are true citizens of the country and are recognized by the same constitution that recognizes governors and House of Assembly members. We stood under the sun and rain to vote them in and we don’t deserve to be treated like this.
“We are telling the government and our representatives, both at the state and federal levels, that they have responsibility to the people that voted them in office. They should not continue to enjoy while the people are wasting away and suffering. The duty of the government is to provide jobs, security, and see to the welfare of the people, because Nigeria belongs to everybody and this must be strictly adhered to. Lagos should be livable for all,” he added.
Disclosing that over 70 percent of Lagosians are working on the street with no shelter and jobs, the protesters called on Governor Ambode to invest in social housing and stop demolishing existing buildings, provide for the poor, create affordable housing and security and put an end to indiscriminate arrest of Lagosians, especially petty traders.