Let’s talk about the demolition exercise that affected many in Abule Egba

Are we all going to go about our day and pretend like we are not aware of the thousands of Lagosians that have been rendered homeless and helpless by the demolition exercise in Abule Egba area of Lagos?

On Wednesday and Thursday, residents of Abule Egba watched as their homes, shops, banks, religious centres and most of their life possessions, were pulled down right before their eyes. The very few news platforms that reported the depressing event have conflicting information from the Lagos state government and the affected residents. Some reports have it that the past administration of Governor Babatunde Fashola issued an eviction notice to the victims three years ago. According to most of the residents, they were not apprised of the demolition until 7 days before the bulldozers arrived.

This GTBank branch was one of the affected structures
This GTBank branch was one of the affected structures

In these times when citizens have lost trust in the government and possibilities of the promised “Change” remains bleak, the question of how long they were given to vacate the area pales in significance to the question of to go from here. There is no telling what will be the fate of the residents as reports have it that the majority of them wept for the uncertainty of their future when they were visited by newsmen. These same reports also have it that about 1,000 structures were affected in the demolition exercise.

The sadder part of the entire episode is how the thousands of Nigerians who raised their voices to hugely condemn the demolition of some businesses in Ikoyi just last month are suddenly silent now; at a time when they are mostly needed. The larger population in this part of Lagos, Abule Egba cannot even be referred to as middle class. They are mostly uneducated, traders, artisans, aged and struggling.

The state government has promised to compensate residents whose houses fall within the Right of Way and who can tender authentic Certificates of Occupancy. While this looks like a glimmer of hope, it is obvious that such processes are usually lengthy and frustrating. But the government can feel a sense of necessity if the rest of us lend our voices to this issue and make it a big deal (which it is) just like we did for Nuli Juice and the rest of them that were affected months ago.

Another important question to ask is why the Lagos state government thinks it is impervious to the recession that has hit the country’s economy. The good intentions of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration speaks for itself but the timing is suspect. The government needs to focus more on intervention projects that will help millions of Lagosians survive through these times.

Comments (0)

  1. is 3 years notice inadequate? Please discus that for a minute they said they had 3 years notice! Wow

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