Mother of 3 weeks old baby, 87 year-old woman, others cry to Ambode over demolition of homes by govt agents
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Residents of Lagoon View Estate, along Ibeshe Road, Ikorodu, including a three weeks old nursing mother and an 87 year old woman, yesterday, stormed office of Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode and State House of Assembly to protest over demolition of their 16 residential buildings by agents of the state government.
The protesters, mainly youths and aged, stormed the premises in Alausa, Ikeja, at about 12 noon, displaying placards with several inscriptions, such as, “Governor Ambode Save us from Land-grabbers, Nigeria is not a jungle, Ambode give us justice,” among others.
They claimed that officials of the state Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development stormed their residents on August 16th, 2017 with bulldozers without prior notice and demolished 16 buildings belonging to residents.
Spokesperson of the protesters and a resident, Mr. Victor Hamstrong, who presented a protest letter to representatives of Governor Ambode, demanded for immediate intervention, investigation to determine those responsible, as well as seek redress to right the wrong and forestall future occurrence.
According to him, “The taskforce demolished buildings both occupied and unoccupied on over two hectares of land, worth N1billion.
“We are here to seek the intervention of Governor Ambode and the lawmakers to get justice and redress over unlawful and unjust demolition of our homes by agents who claimed to be officials from the Ministry of physical Planning and Urban development.
“We have been rendered homeless with our children left on the streets. We are using this opportunity to appeal to the state Governor to come to our aid to save us from dying on the streets and reclaim our homes.”
The solicitor to the protesters, Barrister Akin Duyilemi, maintained that the land of the estate belonging to his clients was not subject to litigation or liable to judgment execution.
“Our clients are property owners (with some completed and inhabited while others are at various levels of development works) at the above estate and various levels of compliance with the relevant state laws, while a few have obtained Certificates of Occupancy with building approvals.”
One of the displaced residents, a nursing mother of three weeks old baby, Mrs. Olaiya Deola narrated, “On that fateful day they came with armed policemen and threatened to shoot us if we make any resistance. We thought, it was a joke until they leveled our buildings to rubble.
“As you can see, am nursing a three weeks old baby, they did not pity the baby, they just threw us out on the street. We are using this opportunity to appeal to Ambode to have mercy on us and come to our aid.”
Also, an 87 year- old frail looking woman, Mrs. Sekinat Gabriel, in an emotion laden speech, said, “We are dying in this cold weather. It is unfair for government of change that we voted for to treat us this manner, it’s just unfair. We beg Ambode to save us from untimely death.”
Speaking on-behalf of the state government, Mrs Omotayo Alli-Balogun, Director, Lagal Department, Office of Civic Engagement, commended the peaceful manner of the protesters and promised to convey their petition to the governor for appropriate action, with an assurance that “appropriate justice will be done.
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