No fewer than 200 residents of Oke-Egan Community, Eleko Area of Ajah in Lagos, on Friday stormed the state House of Assembly complex, demanding compensations over demolition of their houses.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that residents of the affected community were chanting various protest songs, while armed with placards of various inscriptions.
Some of the inscriptions read: “We have been demoralised, nowhere to go; “We want our properties back.
“Others include:” Our hearts bleed; “We now roam the streets with nowhere to stay; Our children are crying; Asiwaju Bola Tinubu your children are homeless; Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu please come to our rescue.”
Addressing the protesters, Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, urged them to remain calm and be peaceful, promising that the House would address their grievances.
Obasa, represented by Lukmom Olumoh, a lawmaker, representing Ajeromi/Ifelodun Constituency I, said that the matter would be addressed amicably.
“I am here on behalf of the Speaker, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa and he has requested me to meet you and hear your grievances.
“The House of Assembly is your House and you voted us to protect your interest and you can be rest assured that your interest will be protected.
“This is because nobody in Lagos can treat the people of Lagos unlawfully on his or her property.
“You can have the best of assurance that this matter will be looked into critically by the House.
“I can assure you that very soon, you will get favorable response and all I can tell you now is that, we should law abiding and we should not take laws into our hands,” he said.
The speaker said no matter how frustrated the situation might look, it would be resolved, pleading with them to return to their places of abode and present their petition to the assembly.
Obasa said they would carefully look into their petition, and ensure that those concerned were called upon, with the representatives of the community to find a common solution.
According to him, as long as residents are lawfully occupying the parcel of land where their houses are built, nobody has the right to demolish them.
Earlier, Mr Etim Odiase, who led the protesters, said that their houses, numbering about 400, were demolished by the Lagos State Task Force on Physical Planning in the early hours of Monday.
Odiase said the community was not served any notice before the demolition, adding that they only heard about the demolition verbally.
He said the residents had informed their lawyers, who had been to the office of the state Surveyor-General last week Friday, with assurance that the houses would not be demolished.
“We want to know the reason why the houses were demolished.
“We don’t know what is going on; we were never given any legal notice. Most of us are now on the streets and in hotels.
“We have spent millions of naira on these houses and some of us have been living here for over 10 years.
“We just want to hear from the state government the reason our houses were demolished; we want compensation from the government and we also want the community back.”
Another affected resident, Mr Damilare James, said his findings from the office of the Surveyor-General showed that the land they were occupying was not acquired by the state government as claimed.
James said that a letter was written to Mr Fatal Mojeed, representing Ibeju-Lekki Constituency I in the assembly, and promised them that there would be no problem.
Also, Pastor Abiodun Ajayi, whose house was also demolished in the area, said it was painful for someone’s house to be demolished in his presence.
“My house was the first to be demolished and we couldn’t take anything out of the house.
“They got there at 3.00a.m, and they started the demolition by 5.00a.m. They came with thugs and we could not talk.
“We have been coming here, we wrote letters and Oba Akiolu of Lagos also wrote a letter on our behalf, because we want to be lawful.
“They didn’t need the land for any industry, they said it is meant for one Idera Housing Scheme.
“It is painful that we that are citizens and voted for them, are being treated like this. See what they did to us. Over 400 houses were demolished,” he said.