By Ola Adeola
A not-for-profit organisation, the Justice and Empowerment Initiatives, JEI, alleges “dozens of hoodlums” with tie to the Elegushi royal family are “taunting and menacing evictees” from the Otodo Gbame community in Lekki. The organisation said it's concern stems from observing the situation in the area as lately as at 3 December.
A JEI statement signed by Megan Chapman, director and co-founder, said the organisation is “deeply concerned about the continued harassment and violent attacks against Otodo Gbame evictees, who are struggling to rebuild their lives left in disarray after the mass forced eviction”.
The NGO claimed the evictees have “suffered a series of violent attacks by hoodlums reportedly working for those who are intent on grabbing their land”.
“The first such attack took place on 22-23 November 2016 shortly after a visit to the community by a member of the Elegushi Chieftaincy Family, police, and hoodlums who reportedly lit three remaining houses ablaze. JEI documented over a dozen evictees from Otodo Gbame with machete, knife and gunshot wounds from this first attack on the morning of 23 November 2016.
“The second attack took place on the morning 30 November 2016 when hoodlums attacking the community were accompanied by men in Mobile Police uniforms and a chief from the neighboring Itedo community who is reportedly loyal to the Elegushi Chieftaincy Family. Several persons were wounded, according to JEI documentation, and the community was left in terror.
“On 24 November 2016, following the first violent attack, evictees from Otodo Gbame joined the Nigerian Slum / Informal Settlement Federation in petitioning the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) at the Zone II Command, Onikan, requesting police protection for the community to prevent further attacks. Although the AIG issued written directives to the Lagos State Police Command to protect the community, sufficient police protection is yet to be seen on ground”.
JEI said it is “heartened by the ongoing investigation into the violence against Otodo Gbame community by a Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Federal SARS) unit from Abuja.” It also noted the “arrests on 1 December of two members of the Elegushi Chieftaincy Family in connection with the attacks”.
The organisation “urges the Inspector-General of Police, Deputy Inspector-General for Investigation & Intelligence, and the CP Federal SARS to ensure this investigation continues – without regard to powerful forces that have scuttled investigations into other Lagos land grabs – so that those responsible for attacks on Otodo Gbame are finally brought to book.”