Displaced Otodo Gbame residents storm governor’s office
There was a mild drama at the Lagos State House, Alausa, yesterday, as hundreds of displaced residents of Otodo Gbame community forcibly stormed the seat of power in protest against the destruction of their homes.
The protesters, who paralysed activities at the state house for about two hours, were prevented and also tear-gased by policemen in a bid to stop them from entering the state house.
Some of the inscriptions displayed on their placards read: ‘90 Maroko houses demolished,’ ‘300,000 evicted, land sold to the rich,’ ‘Ambode is a soldier in agbada,’ ‘Ambode is a land grabber,’ among others.
Spokesman of the group, Paul Kunnu, disclosed that in a recent meeting with government officials, they were asked to document their requests. He, however, stated that it came as a shock to them as their requests were not given any consideration.
“Yesterday (Tuesday), at a meeting with government officials, they told us to bring the list of the people living in the community, which is impossible for us, as we are more than 30,000. They promised to give us special assistance in the area of foodstuff, but that is not our demand. We only want our lands back.
“Anytime we tried to refer them to it, they would stylishly deviate from it. In fact, at our last meeting with them, they told us not to mention anything about the land again or else they would send us away. Anytime the policemen come around, they would come with hoodlums and set our houses on fire.
“We want to go back to our land. Till today, our people are sleeping inside the boat. We usually squeeze ourselves in boats and not all of us own boats. This is where our forefathers lived even before the present government was born. They can’t send us away,” he said.
Last week, Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of a Lagos State High Court sitting at Igbosere, dismissed an application by the displaced residents seeking for the committal to prison of Lagos State governor Akinwunmi Ambode, Lagos State Commissioner of Police Fatai Owoseni and two others for court contempt.
Justice Onigbanjo, in his ruling, stated that the governor in Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution as amended has constitutional immunity from prosecution and from being sent to prison, adding that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the application against him. .
The judge said the other respondents could also not be held liable for contempt since it was the claimant’s argument that the other respondents acted under the order and direct supervision of the governor.
Another displaced resident, Agemo Emmanuel, said: “We want the government to restore our land but Governor Ambode is claiming that he is not aware of the things going on. Thugs would come and kill our children and relatives.”
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