By Monsuru Olowoopejo
Lagos—At least one person was yesterday shot dead and scores injured after some men wearing uniforms of the Nigerian Police stormed Otodo-Gbame community in Lekki axis of Lagos State, demolished and set their structures ablaze displacing hundreds of residents left 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.
Yesterday’s demolition came barely three weeks after the state government tried to justify the demolition of Otodo-Gbame community in Lekki axis, saying the residents were illegal occupants.
About 4,698 residents of the community were displaced.
When Vanguard visited the community, hundreds of evicted residents, who were trapped on the lagoon, were sighted helplessly watching their property being destroyed.
Efforts to return to the community proved abortive and men presumed to be from the marine police in the demolition team allegedly prevented them from going back to the land.
Vanguard gathered 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.
Lagos Police Command PRO, Olarinde Famous-Cole however told Vanguard that; “At about 10.30am yesterday , some unknown armed hoodlums, allegedly entered Otodo-Gbame village, Ilasan and fired sporadically. in the process, bullet hit one Elija Avonda, aged 42 yrs, who died on the spot.
‘’His corpse was deposited at morgue for autopsy while manhunt for the fleeing hoodlums has commenced.”
Sources said that few minutes after their arrival, the demolition agents allegedly started shooting sporadically in the air to scare residents away.
The plight of the displaced residents was further compounded when the rain started; many were sighted including a-week-old baby and several children, under the rain.
While one version of the report alleged that two persons were killed by stray bullets and scores injured, another version said that only one person died with another severely injured.
It was learned that Anya was hit in the neck by a stray bullet allegedly shot by the security personnel deployed to enforce the eviction by the state government.
A resident, Emmanuel Oluwagbemi, disclosed to Vanguard that the deceased, a father of two, died while struggling to save his property from being destroyed.
He lamented that efforts to rush the deceased to hospital proved abortive, saying: ”We could not rescue him because he was shot in the neck.”
Another resident, Abdulrahman Sehnu, alleged that the policemen never allowed them remove their property before setting their structures ablaze, disclosing that one Monday Idowu was alleged shot in the chest.
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.”
Police keep mum
When Vanguard contacted the Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO), Lagos Command, Olarinde Famous-Cole, he did not respond to text or calls made to him.