Just weeks after Apo Mechanic Village Abuja was demolished and burnt down by Government, residents in Surulere street of Lagos state Nigeria have been meted out another inhumane attitude by some power intoxicated leaders.
Nigerian Govt just demolish places for good reasons in a very bad way. They don’t consider the lives these demolitions will ruin, before they do these things. All these horrible demolitions produce armed robbers, beggars and aggressive neighbourhoods.
They should take time and plan, plan and plan!!! Involve the residents and hear their inputs before carrying out such callous acts. I don’t get it at all…what sort of heart do these Nigerian Govt Officials have? The poor masses get all the injustice in Nigeria as opposed to the rich. Wickedness in high places!!!
Read below report from PUNCH
Some residents of Babs Animashaun Street, Surulere, Lagos, have lamented what they called “hasty and wicked demolition” of their houses.
They told PUNCH Metro that they woke up on Friday, January 17, 2014, to see some men, who told them that they had obtained a court judgment that gave them the right to take possession of the land on which they built their houses.
Before any of them could bat an eyelid, caterpillars roared into the vicinity, clearing four houses in the area, and displacing over 100 residents, including women and children.
Some of the affected residents, who spoke with PUNCH Metro in tears, said a team of policemen and soldiers, who accompanied the men, also beat them up for questioning the demolition.
The demolition team was said to be representing Animashaun family, the supposed owner of the land.
A resident, Alao Sulaiman, said majority of the people in the area bought their parcels of land from Sufianun Sule family, adding that the Sule family’s claim to the area was, however, defeated by a court judgment in 1997.
He said, “When the Animashaun family got the judgment, they demolished a few houses and left the rest. They said the landlords of those houses should meet them for re-negotiation. Their lawyer, B.A.M Fashanu, said they would lease the house to us for the next 10 years, after which we would make an outright payment for the parcels of land.
“We have been paying the land lease without any complaint. We have also been paying our land use charge to the state government.
“In 2009, we met the Animashaun family to allow us renegotiate and make full payment, but they said we should be patient, because their family was in court to resolve a rancour regarding the land.
“On January 17, 2014, we saw them again with the policemen, saying they had come to take possession of the land.
“They started demolishing our houses. We stopped them on that Friday. They came back on Saturday with more policemen from Bode Thomas Division and soldiers in a bus marked OP MESA.”
The residents alleged that the men shot into the air to scare the people away. Some of them said they lost their property to the demolition, while a few others, who were not at home, claimed monies were stolen.
A trader, Bose Paul, said N145, 000 proceeds from her sales, which she kept in the house, was missing when she got home.
Another resident, Rose Atoh, who claimed to have collected N160, 000 from her bus driver, alleged the money was stolen.
Saliu Alao, a 75-year-old landlord, said he told the men to produce the court papers, but they refused.
“I told them to show me their court papers and let me know the judge that said immediately they finish the court case, they should push us out. We are not animals that should be given such marching orders.”
Our correspondent who visited the site observed as some of the residents picked pieces of their damaged belongings from the rubble. Some women were seen preparing food in the open.
Our correspondent learnt that some of the residents went to see the Animashaun family after the demolition. They were reportedly told it was the Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, that gave the latest instruction.
A resident, Taiwo Balogun, said, “We heard the court gave the Lagos State Government the order to demolish our houses.”
Efforts made to contact Fashanu, lawyer to the Animashaun family, met brick walls as his personal assistant prevented our correspondent from reaching out to him on the telephone.
On the second day, our correspondent made another effort, but the aide who did not state his name, said, “Oh it’s you PUNCH reporter, when I get to the office, I will call you back on this.”
He did not call back as of press time.
The Lagos State Commissioner, Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Olutoyin Ayinde, also did not pick calls or reply a text message sent to his phone.