May 10, 2024

Lagos govt demolition approach lacks empathy —  Rhodes-Vivour

Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour

By Miftaudeen Raji

Labour Party Governorship candidate of Lagos State in the 2023 election, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour said the approach of recent demolitions carried out by the Lagos State government lacked empathy.

Rhodes-Vivour stated this in an interview with Arise Television on Friday.

Speaking on the recent demolitions in Mende Estate, Rhodes-Vivour faulted the government’s handling of the demolition of buildings without clinical precision.

He said, “I feel the way and manner with which this demolition was carried out shows a lot of inhumanity, in my opinion. I have been there. This is on the edge of the canal. 

“If the canal had been channeled, it would not have expanded the far as it has done when you look at the original survey plan and what it is today and even if you want to destroy the place, the part where there was a contravention on that site survey would have been focused on and destroyed clinically;

“…not a situation where the entire row is damaged, the opposite ones, because of the force, the buildings are beginning to tilt. So, that is my point. I feel like it is extremely important for the government to remember that they are our servants, not our overlords.”

He lamented the neglect of sewage treatment projects and the rampant dumping of waste in canal systems, emphasising the need for the government to prioritise constructive solutions over destructive actions.

Rhodes-Vivour also expressed disappointment over the government’s failure to effectively implement projects aimed at improving waterways and sewage systems, despite substantial budget allocations.

He said, “There is a bigger problem in Lagos State and fortunately, with this Mende estate, you see a group of people that were dedicated in communicating with the government, dedicated in getting all their paper work right with the government, over a significant period of time. Now, another interesting part of this is the conversation about the canal and waterflow.

“In May 2021, 354 million was given for the construction and channeling of this waterway, then in June 2022, another 318 million was given for the works of this same waterway. We have not seen any channeling of this. 

“On this same canal path, shit is being dumped, on this same canal path and another path around the Alade market. Also, coincidentally, around the Ojota side, there is supposed to be a system of sewage treatment, 60% of which has been budgeted for and given, since then the project has been abandoned. 

“I said all that to say, for a government that seem to have so much difficulty in implementing constructive means for our canal ways to work properly, for our sewage system to work properly, the zeal with which they destroy when they cannot crate, despite budget being made for it, shows a lot of lack of empathy,” he said.

“Also, we have seen where the government says the survey drawing has a contravention at the right edge of it. But, when you go there, you see the entire role has been destroyed and when you look at the process, an estate that has been in existence for over 15 years;

“… you ask yourself how the building came about because I am in the construction industry and there is no building being built that the government does not come to inspect or in this case, coming to shut down the place.

Rhodes-Vivour noted the importance of paying compensations to the affected victims of the ongoing demolitions.

 “There are people in Lagos State that might find ulterior ways to get their building built, but these people have their documentation that go back to the very beginning of this development.


“For me, I feel that the government must always be creative with people that have shown good faith in interacting and engaging with the government. There should be conversations about compensation, rehousing, and the betterment of the people of Lagos.”