By Ebun Sessou
Lagos—Residents across Lagos waterfront communities yesterday stormed the Lagos State Government House in Alausa, Ikeja, to protest against their forceful eviction from the areas, calling for the retraction of the seven-day notice to all waterfronts by the Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode.
The protesters, who stormed the Governor’s Office at 10:25am argued that the demolition of the communities was not the solution to the insecurity of the state, advising that the state government should rather strengthen community policing.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters and the cordinator of Nigeria Slum/Informal Settlement Federation, Akinrolabu Samuel, explained that the communities are already taking steps to fight crime through private vigilante which they organise through their household levies.
Samuel stated that they are ready to partner with Nigeria police and the state government in addressing the insecurity of the communities, stating further that eviction does not make Lagos safer.
He explained: ”Eviction is not the way to make Lagos the Centre of Excellence it aspires to be. Lagos is a megacity by virtue of its population. We are part of that population. If we are to become a centre of excellence, we cannot try to make the urban poor in our midst disappear.”
We will not disappear”
“ But, with support and partnership from government, we can continue developing our communities through slum upgrading and social housing. We are ready to do our part to lead upgrading in our communities and promote longterm inclusive development of our city but we need government’s support and partnership. We need Lagos to reset its aim on building an inclusive megacity”, said Samuel
“We are developing a social housing scheme and planning toward slum upgrading. We are learning from the successes of peers in cities around the world. Federation has already profiled 40 of the affected waterfront communities, which are home to a total estimated population of over 300,000 hardworking, law abiding residents”, said Samuel
“As we continue profiling additional waterfront communities, our hope is that these efforts are not in order for us to be able to number the newly homeless. Instead we hope this community-generated data can help us to partner with government toward a better tomorrow”, said Samuel
Addressing the protesters, the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Mr Fatai Owoseni, advised the protesters to be law abiding and coordinate themselves properly so that hoodlums do not hijack the protest, stressing further the demolition would help in getting rid of criminals in the communities.