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Slum dwellers take protest to Ambode as ‘many drown’ in forced eviction process

Slum dwellers take protest to Ambode as ‘many drown’ in forced eviction process
November 15
22:01 2016
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The Nigerian Slum/Informal Settlement Federation in solidarity with their members in Otodo Gbame community blocked the road leading to the Lagos state government house to protest forced eviction.

Otodo Gbame community is an ancestral fishing village in Lagos.

According to statement by the Nigerian slum/Informal Settlement Federation, the forced eviction of Otodo Gbame community commenced on the morning of November 9, 2016, when police began assisting a group of thugs led by a member of the Elegushi Chieftaincy family to set houses, businesses, and community facilities ablaze.

When residents tried to quench the inferno, the police chased them away with teargas and bullets, forcing residents to rush into the Lagos Lagoon. Several persons were said to have drowned.

“Just after midnight, in the wee hours of 10 November 2016, the police came back with a bulldozer that began to demolish the remainder of the community in the dead of night, when residents and newly homeless were sleeping,” the statement read.

“They set properties ablaze. Despite calls to higher levels of police, including the Complaint Response Unit in the Inspector General of Police’s office, there was no respite to protect lives and properties.

“We condemn the forced evictions of over 30,000 hard-working, law-abiding citizens from Otodo Gbame and thousands more from Ebute-Ikate on 9-11 November 2016.

“We in particular condemn the use of fire, demolition in the middle of the night, and the tragic loss of life of persons who drowned when chased by police into the Lagos Lagoon.

“We also condemn the total impunity, noting that the forced eviction of Otodo Gbame was carried out in blatant disregard of a subsisting order of the Lagos State High Court retraining the police and the Lagos State government from carrying out any demolition or eviction of Otodo Gbame or other waterfront communities across Lagos State.

“The Nigerian Slum/Informal Settlement Federation calls for immediate provision of relief materials and emergency shelter.”

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3 homeless women with their kids seat on the road leading to Lagos government house

Meanwhile, some members of the Lagos house of assembly tried to address the protesters, but they refused to listen to them as they demanded to see Ambode.

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House of assembly members addressing the protesters

Rasheed Shittu, one of the organisers, who spoke to TheCable said, “the protest is stopping other workers that have a home to go to, these people don’t have any other place to go, they have demolished their houses, look at females, look at children outside if you notice, they’ve been sleeping on water, inside canoe, boat”.

“The protest is going to take as long as they are ready to address them, compensate the affected victims, stop the burning of the community and illegal demolition.”

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