April 19, 2024

Anger, Weeping As Lagos Govt. Forcibly Evicts, Demolishes More Houses In Oworonshoki, Idi Araba Communities

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The residents of Oworonshoki and Idi Araba communities in the Kosofe and Mushin local government areas of Lagos State were thrown into lamentation on Thursday, 27th July, 2023 as the government of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu continued the demolition of their houses without providing them with alternative shelters. 

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It was gathered that the State government through the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources issued the affected residents only one week’s notice to vacate their homes, a notice that which elapsed today (Thursday), July 27, 2023.

Community sources told newsmen that no fewer than 20 houses were reduced to rubble. Meanwhile, the enforcement authorities reportedly denied them the opportunity to remove their belongings that could be salvaged.

The residents told newsmen that enough time was not given to them, adding that they have nowhere to move to even if they had been given enough time.

The government in the vacation notice dated July 18, 2023, addressed to residents and all residents on Lekan Oyebade Street, titled: “Environmental Management And Protection Law 2017 Abatement of Nuisance Notice,” cited encroachment on buffer zone (Wetland), illegal conversion of the wetland into habitation, squatters on encroached wetland, absence of toilet facilities, and illegal impact of Lagos ownership wetland zone as the reasons for the demolition exercise. 

“In these circumstances, unless you abate the said nuisance within 168 hours (7) days after the service of this notice the provisions of the above-named law will be enforced and you will be prosecuted as provided by the Environmental Law. – illegal land reclamation. To provide requisite permit/approval. Absence of toilet facility.”

A resident of the area who spoke to newsmen described the demolition and eviction in Oworonshoki community as horrific.

The community source said it was worse that residents were not allowed to remove some of their belongings that could still be salvaged. 

“The horror in Oworonshoki’s Idi-Araba community has intensified as the state government persists with its demolition operation. 

“On this grim day, the demolition continued unabated, with more than 20 additional houses reduced to rubble. The situation has reached a critical point, leaving residents in a state of panic and uncertainty. 

“Residents are not allowed to retrieve their possessions before their homes were razed to the ground. The lack of compassion and consideration during this upheaval has left many families devastated and struggling to cope with the loss of their homes and cherished possessions. 

“The scene on the streets of Oworonshoki is one of chaos and fear. Residents, young and old, are frantically searching for safe spaces to take shelter as the demolition threatens to engulf more structures. The absence of any contingency plan or assistance for displaced families has only exacerbated the unfolding tragedy,” he said. 

Another source said, “They are currently heading to Odunifa Street, Oworonshoki. Our hearts go to the affected families.

“I weep profusely! Lagos Street is gone. We heard they are heading to the Ferry community. They are burning all the houses down.

“They are currently burning down people’s houses with just one week’s notice but I don’t think it is due to wetlands issues but a stylish way of taking over the land.”

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