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Otodo-Gbame evictees storm Ambode’s office, demand resettlement

One of the protesters yesterday.

• We feel your pains, Lagos tells displaced residents
Hundreds of residents of Otodo-Gbame community yesterday stormed the Lagos State Governor’s Office, Alausa, to once again protest against their forced eviction from their riverine community and other forms of injustice suffered.

The protesters, who converged on the Government House, said they were demanding justice over a whole range of injustices they claimed to have suffered over the years, including the government’s refusal to honour a court judgment, as well as loss of their loved ones and property.

Many of the protesters were seen displaying leaves and placards containing various inscriptions, including one that said “Compensate Us. Resettle Us.” They blocked all entry and exit points leading to the governor’s office, saying nothing but an address by the governor himself would make them budge.

Some of the protesters complained that a year after the first phase of the forced eviction of over 30,000 people from the community, the state government was yet to implement any relief or resettlement in line with its own promise.

“I don’t have a single cloth, all my property have been destroyed in the demolition. I don’t have anywhere to sleep. After voting him into power, is this how Ambode wants to repay us?” one of the protesters lamented.

Another said: “Help us ask Ambode what we did to deserve all what he has made us go through. I am a tailor, but I have been reduced to nothing. I lost a friend in the process. Please help us ask Ambode what he wants to achieve with all these.”

Reacting, the state government yesterday appealed to the displaced residents of riverine communities in Ilado, popularly known as Otodo Gbame, to exercise a little more patience, as efforts are ongoing to verify their list submitted for resettlement.

Addressing the protesters, the Commissioner for Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations, Seye Oladejo, said the government was very much aware of their pains, and that concerted efforts would be made to ameliorate their plight.

Oladejo, who addressed the protesters alongside the Commissioners for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde; Home Affairs, Dr. Abdulateef Abdulhakeem; and Special Adviser on Environment to the Governor, Babatunde Humpe, commended the peaceful manner with which the protest was conducted, but said their concerns would soon be tackled.

He said though the matter was in court, the government, on compassionate ground, was already looking into how to address the plight of the affected residents. “We held a meeting where we agreed that there should be a list of people who were supposedly displaced. That list, you will agree with me, took several months before it was compiled. When you compile a list of people running into thousands, and the list has their names, addresses, phone numbers and the rest of it, and we are talking about providing assistance, the government also owes it as a responsibility to verify this list. If it took you several months to compile, you will not expect that it should take the government just a few days to verify,” he explained.



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