Residents of Makoko community in Yaba Local Council Development Area, LCDA, part of which was demolished by the state government last month, yesterday, rejected government’s offer to relocate to Agbowa-Ikorodu and vowed to remain in the community, saying “we will not leave here for anywhere.”
The residents rejected the offer at the end of an emergency town hall meeting held in Makoko, to inform the residents on the outcome of the negotiations between their representatives and the state government at Alausa. They said they cannot live on land because they are ‘fishes’ and fishes live in water.
They added that they are fishermen and depend on water to carry out their business. At the meeting, the residents said: “If we move from water to land, specifically Agbowa, where the state government proposed, we will be out of business and feeding ourselves and our children will be difficult.”
Ade Aguntor, one of the residents, said: “This was not where our forefathers earlier settled. They settled at University of Lagos, UNILAG, waterfront. But they were relocated by the Federal Government to Makoko when their land was earmarked for the construction of UNILAG.”
Sources said that at the last meeting held at Alausa Secretariat, between the government and representatives of the community led by Baale of Makoko, Chief Abraham Metsu, and the community lawyer, Mr. Felix Mouka, had earlier rejected the relocation offer presented by the four-man delegation from the state government led by the Commissioner for Waterfront and Infrastructure, Mr. Adesegun Oniru.
Others were Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban development, Mr. Toyin Ayinde, Commissioner for Works; Dr. Obafemi Hamzat and the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Aderemi Ibirogba.
The source said the state government delegation, however, urged the community leaders to go home and convene a town hall meeting to seek the opinion of the entire community.
Baale of Ago-Egun, Makoko, Chief Yusuf Sodiq, confirmed to Vanguard that the community rejected the relocation plan by the state government. He said: “The community has directed its lawyer to issue a letter on their behalf to the state government, stating their rejection of the relocation plan.”
Meanwhile, Vanguard observed that the residents have started reclaiming available space within the authorised areas in the community.