About 200 people were rendered homeless, yesterday, when the demolition exercise that commenced at Makoko area of Lagos entered day two. Many of the residents said the exercise took them unawares as there was no prior notice from Lagos State government before it started around 10am, Monday. Most of the structures were makeshift shanties built on waters, which most of the residents claimed were built to make life easier for them. The residents, who are mainly fishermen who migrated from Badagry, said there was no alternative provision by Lagos State government.
As at 6.30pm, yesterday, many displaced victims were seen hanging around in canoes on water as there was no place to lay their heads. A mother of five, Mrs. Christiana Agbogla, was seen lying down on some of her belongings, saying one of her children, who is two years old was receiving treatment from a nurse when a flying boat arrived the area and some men came out to demolish their structure. Another victim simply called Zende, who was heavily pregnant, lamented that she could not salvage her belongings as there was no one to assist her when the exercise began in her area. Some of the victims also said they will remain on the water as long as they were alive.
They chorused: “We are used to the river due to the nature of our business. We need a place to park our canoes and nets, hence our reasons to be closer to waters. No life was lost in the exercise, because we have trained our children to swim. In this place, a one-year-old baby can swim very well.” The Alase of Egun, Baale Francis Agoyon, said their grandfather inherited the land from University of Lagos many years ago and there was no plan for relocation. The Baale of Sogunro Community, Chief Johnson Idunsa, said they were given about nine days notice by the state government. He said: “The community is mourning because many of our residents have been rendered homeless.”
The quit notice stated that the owners of the shanties occupying and developing shanties and unwholesome structures on the waterfront, thereby constituting environmental nuisance, security risk, impediment to economic and gainful utilisation of the waterfront such as navigation, entertainment, recreation, among others, should vacate the area within 72 hours.