By Omobolanle Kougbe
In a statement read on Thursday during a protest, comprising of Maroko, Badagry, Ikorodu, settlers among others, the group noted that the eviction of slum inhabitants is not the solution to fighting crime and insecurity in the state. They emphasized that the way out is to put more effort into community policing.
“If the Government wishes to fight crime and insecurity, evictions are not the answer. The answer is strengthening community policing. Our communities are already taking steps to fight crime through private vigilante that we organize ourselves through household levies.
“Evictions do not make Lagos safer. Instead, they push the urban poor into deeper poverty through homelessness and loss of livelihoods. Worsened poverty only exacerbates crime. Evictions are not the answer,” it read in part.
According to Megan Chapman, a co-director of Justice and Empowerment Initiative Nigeria, JEI, the demolition and eviction of waterfront inhabitants is not favourable to the people. She emphasized that there are alternative means to go about the development.
“I want Governor Ambode to know that evictions and demolitions are not the answers. If he wants to solve certain problems, whether it’s fiscal planning problems, security problems, whichever problem he wants to solve.
“What he must do is partner with the people, the people are organized, they are ready to work with the government, they are ready to develop themselves, they just need the government to support them.” She said.
Prof. Morris Fayon, Secretary General, Centre for Defence for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, who was part of the protest stated that waterfronts settlers, popularly known as “Eguns” are treated with irrelevance as a result of their illiteracy, subjecting them to their present predicament. He added that there are NGOs willing to render assistance to aid the alternative means they are proposing to the government.
Some of the protesters who spoke to Newsbreak.ng, noted that fish selling and sand dealing are the only sources of their livelihood, adding that demolition of their homes will only render them homeless and subject them to undesirable occurences.
“We are begging the government not to destroy our homes. Ambode should have mercy on us”. She said.
Louis Anthony and John Fenu sand dealers from Badagry urged that the pitiable condition of their people not be worsened by demolishing their homes.
The 7-day ultimatum which was given by the Lagos State Government on 9 October is set to expire on Sunday giving the settlers little or no time to prepare.
Taiwo Ayedun, Special Adviser to the governor on Civic Engagement, who spoke on behalf of the Governor, said a final decision would be made in 36 hours.
The profiling co-ordinator of the NSISF, Akinrolabu Samuel, however said that it is still very important that they meet with the governor adding that the SA’s words are not reliable.