- As Lagos reverses decision on house allocation
BY MONSURU OLOWOOPEJO
He was secretly nursing the hope that his family will be among the first set to take ownership of the ongoing 1008 low cost housing units meant for the cleared space. Lagos State Government pulled down several structures in Badia East, Apapa-Iganmu Local Government Area early last year, displacing Anjorin and at least 2,251 other residents of Iganmu Alawo and Ilu Eri.
Anjorin, a SS3 student of Queencare College, Ajegunle, was at the time preparing for his 2013 May/June Senior Secondary Certificate Examination, SSCE of the West African Examination Council Examination, WAEC.
Ironically, the preparation suffered a setback as the demolition led to the destruction of his notebooks and textbooks.
According to him: “This affected my preparation for the exam because for weeks, I had nowhere to lay my head. I slept outside. And after I relocated to the Better Life Health Centre, Badia, another challenge arose. My textbooks were all gone and the money to purchase another set wasn’t available. My parents were occupied with how to raise money to rent another apartment elsewhere.”
In her account, another victim, Mrs. Ayinke Stephen said: “When Governor Babatunde Fashola visited us last year; he said that the housing project is for our good, promising that at the end, the 319 displaced landlords will be the first beneficiaries of the 1008 low cost housing units.
“In order to actualize this and get compensated for our demolished houses, the state government asked us to nominate representatives to meet with government officials. The government team was led by the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeola Ipaye. Other members of the team were Commissioner for Housing, Agriculture and Cooperatives and Information and strategy.
“During the negotiation, the community representatives included the demand to be allocated part of the houses in the new estate but to our surprise, government representatives demanded that such be expunged.”
One of those who represented the community, Mr. Raymond Tedunjaiye, explained further; “During one of the meetings last year, the state representatives said we should expunge house allocation demand from our requirements saying it was not part of their brief.”
Responding to the allegation, Ipaye told Vanguard that; “they can apply for flats in the houses when it is ready. If they qualify they will have to take a mortgage like others, not for free. There will be 1,008 flats. Remember that 2,252 persons claim to have been living in that strip. That is why government has allocated N284.4 million to them as compensation.”