‘We’ve been dealt a deadly blow in Abule-Egba’
Victims of the ongoing demolition in Abule-Egba area of Lagos State, have begun to count their losses, as it has now dawned on them that what they are experiencing is a reality.
When The Guardian visited yesterday, they gathered in small groups on the rubble, which once housed them. Depression, anger and sorrow were visibly written on their faces, as they were yet to overcome the trauma. They looked tired and worn out, as a result of sleeplessness and serious brooding on the fate that has befallen them.
For two days now, they have been sleeping in the open field, while others took shelter under trees.
As at the time of the visit, over 600 houses, shops, banks and filling stations, had either been completely or partially demolished. Churches and mosques were not left out. More houses were still being demolished.
The Guardian learnt that the demolished area was tagged government acquisition area a long time, with a big concrete signpost with the inscription “FG Acquired Land”, but were sold out to unsuspecting buyers by some land agents.
It was revealed that three years ago, a notice was issued by the past administration, for them to leave the area, but it was not followed up till last month when they issued 14 days notice and later seven days notice before the commencement of the demolition last Tuesday.
One of the affected landlords, a 70-year-old, Alhaji Abdulsalam Amsat, whose storey-building, four shops, mosque and other property were destroyed, said his great grand parents lived in the demolished house before their death. He told The Guardian that though it is government acquired land, they had been living there before the place was acquired by the government.
“Then, we were given what they called “village extension” that extended to the Ekoro area. They later lifted the ban on other areas and started issuing land documents to people. But they received a notice for a meeting of landlords at the Agbado-Oke Local Council Development Area (LCDA) fixed for September 22, 2016, with the Commissioner of Works and Housing, Wasiu Anifowoshe, where we were told that there was going to be road extension.
“He promised that four notices would be issued before demolition and also that they would not make people to suffer by paying compensation for whatever was demolished, including fences.
Amsat said they later received a notice on September 22 to submit their building documents to Alausa within seven days, which they followed. He noted that what followed was the presence of land valuers, who visited them after they had received the first notice. But three days after the valuers visited, they saw bulldozers, which came and demolished even beyond the marked areas.
He noted that what had been destroyed was over N200 million because everything he had worked for was within the building.
“We are appealing to the government to adequately compensate us. We have been dealt a serious blow. This is not a masses- friendly government.”