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Okobaba residents protest against demolition, demand compensation

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Residents of Okobaba area of Ebute-Metta of Lagos on Monday, staged a protest at the Lagos State House of Assembly over the demolition of their houses and workshops by one lawyer, Mr. Tomori, counsel to the land title owner, the Oloto family. The protesters numbering about 200 carried placards with various inscriptions such as; “Is Tomori, Oloto above the law; “Tomori is threatening us with thugs and police” and “Oloto and Tomori have rendered us homeless”, among others.

The chairman, Wood Turner Association, Chukwuka Ogbonna, said Tomori, representing the Oloto family, visited the scene in December and ordered the arrest and detention of 17 people for rebuilding their burnt offices and structures. He noted that the demolished sawmill cuts across three streets ranging from Kano, Jebba and Ondo streets, adding that the Lagos State government has not yet fulfilled plans to relocate residents of the burnt sawmill to Agbowa Ikosi in the Ikorodu area of Lagos.

According to the petition sent to the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Obasa, it stated that: “Our homes, offices and workshop were totally destroyed by Tomori without any prior notice or proper engagement with community members adding that residents have now become jobless, scavengers and walking corpses.”

In his remarks, the royal father, Oluwaseyi Awodiya, called on the state government to set up panel of enquiry on the land dispute at Okobaba and cause of the November 8, 2019 fire incident. He also called on government to order Mr. Tomori to pay compensation to community members who suffered losses.

Awodiya posited that the Commissioner for Finance, Rabiu Olowo, gave the community members permission to rebuild the burnt structures pending relocation to Agbowa Ikosi but that Tomori has continued to demolish the structures.The Director Political Office of Civic Engagement, Hundeyin Kolawole, in his response to the protesters promised to look into their demand. He stated further that the accused person (Tomori) will be invited to shed more light on why the structures belonging to community members of Okobaba were destroyed.

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