By Busari Yusuf
Barely three weeks after the Lagos state government tried to justify the demolition of Otodo-Gbame community in Lekki axis, at least one person was yesterday reportedly shot dead and scores injured after some men wearing uniforms of the Nigerian Police stormed the community in Lagos state, demolishing and setting their structures ablaze and displacing hundreds of residents in the riverine community.
The deceased was identified as Daniel Anya while Monday Idowu, who was shot in the chest, is recuperating at the Lagos General hospital.
The State Government had on March 17, demolished several structures in the community, an action that prompted the residents to approach the court to seek injunction that will bar further demolition.
Hundreds of evicted residents, who were trapped on the lagoon, were sighted helplessly watching their property being destroyed and efforts to return to the community proved abortive as men presumed to be from the marine police in the demolition team allegedly prevented the residents from going back to the land.
Sources say that the attackers included policemen attached to the Lagos State Taskforce on Environmental and Special Offences Unit, Marine police and others who stormed the community at about 6:00 am.
The Baale of the community, Chief Hunpe Dansu, lamented that the residents were tear-gassed by the policemen deployed to enforce the state government order. According to him, “The security men came in speed boat and about two black maria to arrest anyone who kicked against their action. We were forced to escape through the lagoon when we discovered that our plea fell on deaf ears.”
Otodo-Gbame community is a slum of shanties, peasants, mat-weaving fishermen and divers, located few meters away from Lekki Phase 1.
There has been an outcry on social media as the Lagos State government continued with the demolition of the waterfront community within the state. Many Nigerians and human rights organisations took to Twitter to condemn the demolition and draw attention to the plight of the affected.