The communities of Oworonshoki and Idi Araba in the Kosofe and Mushin local government areas of Lagos State experienced profound sorrow on Thursday as Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration proceeded with the demolition of their houses, leaving them without alternative shelters.
According to Newsmen findings, the State government, through the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, issued the affected residents only one week’s notice to vacate their homes, and this deadline expired on July 27, 2023. Tragically, over 20 houses were reduced to rubble during the demolition, and the enforcement authorities reportedly prevented the residents from salvaging their belongings.
Speaking to newsmen, the distressed residents expressed their distress, stating that they were not given sufficient time to make alternative arrangements even if they wanted to. Their plea for compassion and understanding fell on deaf ears, as the government cited several reasons for the demolition exercise, including encroachment on buffer zones (Wetland), illegal conversion of wetlands into habitation, squatters on encroached wetlands, absence of toilet facilities, illegal impact on Lagos ownership wetland zone.
One resident shared the harrowing experience of the demolition in the Oworonshoki community, describing it as horrific. The lack of opportunity to retrieve belongings before their homes were razed added to the anguish of the affected families. The situation has left the community in panic and uncertainty, with residents, young and old, desperately searching for safe spaces to take shelter as the demolition continues.
The absence of any contingency plan or assistance for displaced families has exacerbated the tragedy. The residents are now pleading for Governor Sanwo-Olu’s intervention and support. Some speculate that the demolition might not be solely due to wetlands issues but could be a veiled attempt to take over the land for other purposes.
As the demolitions extend to Odunifa Street in Oworonshoki, the affected families are left to grapple with profound loss and devastation. The speed and lack of compassion shown during this demolition operation have left the community reeling, wondering about their future and the fate of their homes and cherished possessions.