Residents and occupants of Abete community in Iwaya – Yaba were thrown into a restive mood yesterday, August 18, 2017, following the demolition of structures in the area by the Lagos State Government.
The demolition exercise claimed no fewer than 200 houses with residents insisting they can’t fathom why the government ordered the exercise that claimed structures along the Balogun extension of Iwaya.
Several residents described the demolition as unjust, asserting that the government gave them no notice before the demolitions took place, Sahara Reporters said.
According to them, the state government gave them no time to either relocate or take their prized belongings out of their homes before the demolitions began.
The absence of any prior warning caused a lot of uproar and confusion as the demolition took place, with many victims bemoaning the loss of their accommodation as well as belongings trapped in the massive wreckage.
A resident, who simply identified himself as Ademola, said the government’s action was unexpected. “The demolition came suddenly. Nobody was prepared for it, and we couldn’t move out our things before they started the demolition. We cannot point to anything in particular that led to the demolition, but we suspect that the government has their motive for carrying out this demolition today.”
Another resident said: “What happened here today showed that the government has no care and is not concerned with the welfare of ordinary people. We have been told some very influential people who have money want to turn this place into an estate. And they’re doing this by rendering thousands of people homeless. This [demolition] was impromptu. Nobody was notified. They just came and started to destroy people’s properties.”
The resident added that the demolition would only aggravate the poverty level in the area as well as the country.
Meanwhile Onikan Gbenga Adebiyi, a former councilor in Iwaya whose house was among those demolished, vowed that the people would fight for their rights by proceeding to court.
“We will go to court to fight for our rights and entitlements because there was no due notice to residents regarding the demolition. Houses were demolished and people were being harassed during the demolition process,” he said.
Commenting on the demolition, the State government through the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development said the exercise was carried out in order to return the land to its rightful owners.
The Chief Public Affairs officer of the Ministry, Mrs. Olubukonla Nwonah said “the demolition is from our office. The property belongs to UNILAG. The development has no permit. All necessary statutory notices had been served before demolition.”