Residents of Okobaba, a community in Ebute Meta, Lagos State, have appealed to the state government to relocate them before embarking on the demolition of the area.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the state government had during the administration of Bola Tinubu resolved to re-develop the area in line with the Lagos Mega City project.
However, the residents alleged that the government only concerned itself with relocation of saw millers in the area and left them to their fate.
A resident, Mufutau Bakare, said government had yet to set any machinery in motion as regards their relocation.
He said, “I have been staying in this area since 1987 and this house is the product of many years of labour. It will be very unfair if the government embarks on the demolition without resettling us.
“The government has already provided a site for the resettlement of Okobaba saw millers in Agbowa/Ikosi but has left Okobaba residents stranded. The saw millers are few compared to our population. Besides, they only come here to do business during the day and return to their homes.”
Another resident, Adun Adetutu, while appealing to the government, said the news of the demolition led to the death of her mother in 2011.
She said, “We subscribe to Governor Babatunde Fashola’s vision of turning Okobaba to a mega city, but he should not render us homeless in the process.
“I was born in this community 52 years ago and my mother built the structure that we live in. The news of the demolition killed her in September 2011.”
She added that demolishing their houses without relocation would render her children and grandchildren homeless.
A 62-year-old widow, Muniratu Memudu, said the proposed demolition of her home without corresponding resettlement could turn her grandchildren into urchins.
She said, “My husband is late and I lost my three children in mysterious circumstances. I’m presently the one looking after their children.
“If the government makes do its threats and demolishes my home where would I lay my head to rest?
“My grandchildren would also be forced to the streets and they may take to crime. Government should consider relocating us too.”
Abimbola Sodiq who also lives in the community said, “As a matter of fact, as residents of the state, we pay our dues to government. For example, I pay the sum of N2, 000 yearly as Land Use Charge to the state. As such, government should also be responsible to us.
“We are already disadvantaged; government should not make us more impoverished citizens of the state.”