Many houses demolished in Lagos riverine community

Many houses demolished in Lagos riverine community
March 17
15:19 2017

Many residents in Otodo Gbame, a waterfront community in the Lekki area of Lagos state, have been rendered homeless, following a demolition exercise carried out by Lagos state governmrnt.

The team that carried out the exercise was assisted by armed security personnel.

The development took residents by surprise as a court had earlier restrained the demolition.

Steve Ayorinde, commissioner for information, is yet to respond to inquiries by TheCable.

Amnesty International has condemned the action, describing it as a violation of the right of the people.

Residents were said not to have been served any notice prior to the forced eviction which came as a total shock.

“The scene at the moment is chaotic and dangerous for the thousands who live in the Otodo-Gbame community. The military and police are out in full force and are using tear gas and live bullets to disperse the residents. There are four bulldozers ripping through the settlement,” said Morayo Adebayo, Amnesty International’s Nigeria researcher.

“This brutal and illegal act flies in the face of human dignity as well as a high court ruling that prohibited the eviction taking place and instructed the authorities to instead seek a settlement with the affected communities. The Lagos state government should ensure that the families who have been rendered homeless this morning are given emergency relief including adequate shelter, water, food and any medical care they may require.”

Julius Oladele, who along with his wife and two children, is a resident of Otodo-Gbame witnessed the eviction and told Amnesty International:

“Almost all the houses in the community have been demolished, the only ones left are those on the water. They did not allow anyone to take their properties. They are chasing people away. My own house was destroyed this morning before I could rush back from work.”

Amnesty International has called for an immediate end to the ongoing eviction and for the authorities to respect the court ruling, prohibiting them from carrying out forced evictions in waterfront communities.

Amnesty International has been documenting forced evictions in Lagos for over ten years.

Today’s eviction follows the 26 January, 2017 ruling of the Lagos high court in the above case in which the judge held that forced evictions are inhuman cruel and degrading, and a violation of section 34 of the Nigerian constitution.

The court subsequently ordered the parties to explore out of court settlement.

According to the judge, “the eviction/threat of forcible eviction of any citizen from his home at short notice and without any immediate alternative accommodation or sufficient opportunity to arrange for such alternative accommodation before being evicted from his current abode totally undignifying and certainly inhuman, cruel and degrading.”

In November, residents staged a protest to the office of Akinwunmi Ambode, governor of Lagos state, following the demolition of over 500 houses.


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