Thousands of people who were forcefully evicted from Otodo Gbame, a waterfront community on the edge of the Lagoon in Lekki area of Lagos gathered on Tuesday to lament their fate over one year after they were cruelly turned homeless by Lagos State government.
Thousands of residents who were evicted from the waterfront community in the forceful process of ejection which spanned November 2016 to April 2017 at an event to mark over one year of their eviction in Ebute Metta took time to condemn the Lagos state Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode for chasing them out of their homes.
They asserted that the governor is bent on chasing the poor out of Lagos in order to build a mega city.
But they have also not given up on the place they used to know as their home as they asked the Lagos State government to obey a court judgment in their favor.
Speaking to SaharaReporters, a resident of Otodo Gbame, Mr Ogundele Ibrahimoh Agbede, said he lived in the waterfront community for over 30 years before he was evicted.
He maintained that people have occupied the waterfront community even before Nigeria gained independence.
He added that Lagos state governor acted without respect for human rights when he directed forceful eviction of residents of the waterfront community.
He said, “Lagos state want to develop everywhere, we don’t object to it but we should be taken extra care of. This present government came in the night to forcefully evict people leading to the death of 15 people, some were missing while many were injured.”
Sani Muhammed, a policy and advocacy coordinator with Nigeria Slums and Informal Settlement noted that eviction without consultation and compensation, as was inflicted on residents of Otodo Gbame amounts to cruelty and degrading treatment.
He said the state government should build an inclusive mega city consisting of both the rich and the poor.
“If Lagos wants to build a megacity, human components must not be lost and it must be inclusive. It should not be a situation where you keep evicting the poor for the rich.”
The evicted Otodo Gbame residents urged Governor Ambode to obey the court judgment ordering the state to relocate them.
Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of the Lagos State High Court had declared eviction of the Otodo Gbame residents by Lagos government as unconstitutional.
The court had subsequently asked the state to relocate the residents to another place or return them to their original homes.
A resident of the community, Murtala Gani Taiwo noted that the state government appealed the court ruling.
But he added that Lagos state is deploying delay tactics to prevent justice.
“Since the ruling of Justice Onigbanjo of Igbosere High Court, the state governor went for appeal and we have not heard anything. The appeal by the state government seems as a way of delaying judgment,” Taiwo said.
He asserted that the people of Otodo Gbame would not stop demanding for justice. “Lagos is meant to be a land of justice and equity and not a land for the rich only”, he insisted.
Taiwo Emmanuel of Oko-Agbon waterfront community stated that Lagos should be a place driven by inclusiveness.
He added that people are yearning for a society that is driven by the principle of equality.
He enjoined the governor, Akinwunmi Ambode to take steps to remedy the loss of lives and properties incurred by the people in the process of the eviction.