Hundreds of Makoko residents on Monday, stormed the Lagos State Government House to protest against the ongoing demolition of shanties and structures in their community.
Chanting anti-government songs and brandishing placards, the protesters, some in their old age, peacefully marched along Obafemi Awolowo Way, to the office of the State Governor, Babatunde Fashola.
But at the government house, the protesters did not get assurance that the exercise would be stopped.
Rather, Fashola told them that all structures extending beyond the approved boundary, would be levelled.
He noted that piling saw-dust on the lagoon, discharging wastes in it and blocking the discharge points for storm water had contributed to flooding in some parts of Lagos, like Bariga, Shomolu, Ebute-Metta, Ogudu, Ajegunle and Ikorodu, among others.
He however, expressed a “very deep sorrow and apology about the unfortunate loss of life from the exercise”.
“I am truly sorry about that. In the process of doing our work, our responsibility is to protect lives. I regret that that has happened here,” he said.
Fashola promised to investigate the circumstances leading to Agbe’s death, and encouraged the community to send a delegate to meet with him “on the way forward”.
“Please tell them to stop”
Earlier, one of the community chiefs, who spoke for the protesters, Yusuf Jejelaiye, appealed to the governor to let them be.
“Please and please, tell them to stop (the demolition),” he said, adding that the economic mainstay was fishing. “If you bring a fish out of water, it will die. I heard rumours that one of the reasons is that there are criminals there, but do we demolish and evacuate people in Lekki, Ikeja because they rob people there.”
A displaced resident, Bose Rashidi, said she and her children had been sleeping in the open since her house was destroyed.
“They burnt my stockpile of fish and my children’s uniforms and books; now, they can’t go to school and I don’t have fish to sell,” she said. “We’re hungry; we’ve also been sleeping on planks outside and all the rain has been pouring on us.”
Over 30,000 persons displaced