A coalition of civil society organisations in Lagos has criticised the Lagos State Government for the recent demolition of commercial and residential structures in some parts of the state.
The CSOs, in a statement on Thursday, described the demolition and eviction of residents by the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration as “ill-motivated, insensitive and ill-timed”.
According to the CSOs, the government had recently embarked on demolition of houses on the Lagos Island, Victoria Island, Ikoyi, Lekki, Ajah and Oshodi areas of the state.
The groups claimed that the demolition carried out in Shapata-Chevron, Small Kuramo, Ikate-Elegushi Waterside, Ikota-Ajah, Ligali Ayorinde, among other areas, was targeted at small and medium-scale business owners in the state.
“The manner in which the demolition was carried out calls for concern. Most of the affected residents have received less than two weeks’ notice to quit. Such extremely short notices are coming at a time when the inflation rate towers at 16.5 per cent and the economy is in recession, which cripples social and economic activities and triggers massive job losses.
“Publication of notices in newspaper and/or the television is insufficient notice as most of those targeted with demolitions may not have access to these media.
“It is also commonplace for landlords to demand one to two years rent in advance, with additional legal and agency fees, thereby putting rental accommodation at a cost majority of the poor cannot afford. Not only that, the executive order to leave is coming at a time when schools across the state just resumed for a new academic session. The disruption of children’s education is imminent should they lose their homes,” the CSOs said in the statement.
The statement also quoted the Executive Director of CEE-HOPE, Betty Abah, as saying that the government had, through its various policies, including ban on street trading, declared war on the poor.
Abah said, “It is appalling to note the wars that are being deliberately waged against the urban poor under Governor Ambode’s administration. It is a huge disappointment because many voted him in as governor of Lagos State based on the sensational promises of inclusive development. The demolition in Badia East and other communities across Lagos since the governor’s assumption of office in 2015, the recent ban on street trading, and now the forced eviction and demolition in Oshodi, Ikoyi, and other communities, make it abundantly clear that he is on a mission to marginalise the urban poor even further and make lives more difficult for their children.”
In the interest of the schoolchildren, Abah called on the government to halt the demolition and eviction of residents.