Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos has unbelievably accused residents of Otodo Gbame, including impoverished women and children, of constituting a grave security threat to Lagos.
The Governor said the community was housing deadly militants in the state, who, according to him, have turned the area to their “operational base”.
Mr. Ambode’s justification is not only false, it is also a clear demonstration that the government intends to continue with its widely condemned demolition exercise that has left about 5, 000 people homeless since March 17.
Otodo Gbame residents in the cold today
Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo ruled on January 26 that the demolitions were unconstitutional and should be halted. But the government sent bulldozers on March 17. Hours after, about 5000 people were homeless.
The government has continued to demolish the area and setting their homes on fire. Several people have been shot dead, many are in hospital with gunshot wounds.
In a statement on Monday via its Twitter account, @LAGOSGMT1, the governor’s monitoring team said the decision to render about 5000 people homeless and set their houses on fire was taken in the best interest of Lagosians.
The government said militants had turned the community to their operational base.
It said, “The demolition of Otodo Gbame was carried out as a security measure in the overall interest of all Lagosians.
“Intelligence report has revealed that militants are using the illegal Otodo Gbame settlement as a base.
“Credible intelligence gathering shows that militants are living amongst the people in Otodo Gbame and are perfecting plans to attack Lekki and VI.
“LASG places a high premium on security and will not abdicate in its duty to protect the lives and property of all residents. Otodo Gbame.
“The killing of security agents in the Ishawo area of Lagos by militants further strengthens the resolve of government to clear the Otodo Gbame.
“The Lagos State government in collaboration with security agencies will stop at nothing to secure the State. Otodo Gbame.
“The government will not succumb to emotional blackmail and will stand by this decision because it is in the best interest of all residents Otodo Gbame.
The settlement in Otodo Gbame is illegal, without any title or appropriate government approval. Otodo Gbame.
“We are willing to take unpopular decisions that will protect lives and property. The Otodo Gbame situation is one of such.”
But it has been established that the above are excuses from a heartless government acting illegally to grab the land of an impoverished community.
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