Lagos Rakes In N34bn Monthly IGR

The Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade, has said the state has generated a monthly internal revenue of

The Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade, has said the state has generated a monthly internal revenue of N34 billion in 2018.

Ashade, who disclosed this, yesterday, at the ongoing annual ministerial press briefing, to mark the third anniversary of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration, held at Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, in Alausa, attributed the gradual improvement to the impact of the ongoing reforms and growth in the state’s economy.

He said: “Based on our first quarter results, Lagos state has, so far, achieved an average monthly IGR of N34 billion in 2018, compared to monthly averages of N22 billion, N24 billion and N30 billion, in 2015, 2016 and 2017, respectively.”
The commissioner expressed optimism that the IGR will continue to rise as the state continues to implement the various reforms, driven by wider technology adoption and innovation, adding that the target to grow the IGR to N50 billion by next year is well on course.

“The target we set for ourselves is N50 billion, but, we all know the kind of push backs we have experienced, including people going to court. Our commitment is not for now, its for the future of Lagos. We know it is a marathon; we would win some and lose some, but, we are very committed towards ensuring that we meet the target. If we don’t meet it this year, definitely, there would be another year; but, we believe we will succeed in the target we set for ourselves,” Ashade said.

On federal transfers, he said since Lagos joined the league of oil producing states, the government has received N327 million revenue, comprising N197 million and N130 million received in 2017, and first quarter of 2018, respectively.

“Furthermore, we are have ongoing discussions with the Federal Government towards obtaining a refund for expenditure totalling N51 billion, which was incurred by the state government on behalf of the federal government for infrastructure development projects in the state. We are optimistic of successful discussions which will result in the approval and payment of the amount owed the state government by the federal government,” he said.

Lagos Monthly IGR Hits N34bn

Lagos State Government on Monday revealed that its monthly Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) now stands at an average of N34billion

Lagos State Government on Monday revealed that its monthly Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) now stands at an average of N34billion compared to monthly averages of the last three years which hovered between N24 billion and N30 billion.

The Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade who disclosed this at the ongoing annual ministerial press briefing hinged the gradual improvement in the revenue of the state to the impact of the ongoing reforms and growth in the state’s economy.

He said, “Notably, we are recording gradual improvement in our average monthly IGR in 2018 compared to the levels achieved in previous years due to the impact of ongoing reforms and growth in the State’s economy. Based on our first quarter results, Lagos State has so far achieved an average monthly IGR of N34billion in 2018 compared to monthly averages of N22bn, N24bn and N30bn in 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively.”

The Commissioner expressed optimism that the IGR would continue to rise even further as the State continues to implement the various reforms, driven by wider technology adoption and innovation, adding that the target to grow the State’s IGR to N50bn by next year was well on course.

“The target we set for ourselves is N50billion but we all know the kind of push backs we have experienced including people going to court and all that. Our commitment is not for now, its for the future of Lagos.

‘’We know it’s a marathon, we would win some and we would lose some, but we are very committed towards ensuring that we meet the target, but if we don’t meet it this year, definitely there would be another year, but we believe we would succeed in that target we set for ourselves,” Ashade said.

 

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Lagos Govt To Institute Whistleblowing In Revenue Generating Agency

The Lagos State government has announced plans to introduce a whistleblowing framework in one of its revenue generating agencies, the Lagos

The Lagos State government has announced plans to introduce a whistleblowing framework in one of its revenue generating agencies, the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, (LIRS).

The Commissioner for Finance, Mr Akinyemi Ashade who made this known in Alausa, Ikeja during the annual Ministerial briefing said when implemented, the framework would help maximise revenue by curbing evasion, under-declaration of assets and income as well as other corrupt behaviour.

The LIRS is the highest revenue generating agency of the State Government.

Mr Ashade said to block leakages, a new governance and remuneration structure to motivate LIRS staff to become more productive would be implemented soon.

He said the State has achieved an average monthly Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, of N34 billion this year compared to monthly averages of the last three years.

Makoko residents protest police killings, destruction of property

Dozens of residents of Ori Oke, Makoko, in Lagos Friday marched to protest the killings and destruction of property of

Dozens of residents of Ori Oke, Makoko, in Lagos Friday marched to protest the killings and destruction of property of some Ilaje indigenes during a violence which broke out between the Ilaje community, police and Land Grabbers’ Task Force on May 10.

The protesters, who marched to the State Crime Investigation and Intelligence Department (CIID), Panti, Yaba, bore different placards and chanted “Police are supposed to be our protector and not killers.”

Addressing the crowd, Adeola Ilori, a human rights lawyer, said what happened last Thursday was “totally illegal.” He said the land grabbers took laws into their hand and used the police as their instruments”.

“They took laws into their hands and attacked an harmless community; four people were killed and on Tuesday I can still count not less than 10 that are still critically injured,” Mr Ilori said.

“I have read the land grabbers law passed in 2017, it is about three pages and 26 sections. There is no place that gives right to the land grabbers’ committee or task force to kill, maim and burn down a church just to reclaim a land.

“The only section that empowers the land grabbers’ task force to intervene is to ask the two parties to check the land documents and I was told this particular land has been taken to court of appeal.

“Since last week Thursday, the governor has not issued any statement to condemn the issue or visit the affected people and pay condolence to the dead neither has the commissioner done that and we know they have heard.”

Present at the protest were officials of Yaba Local Council Development Authority,: Centre for the Defence of Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, CDHRA; Ilaje National Alliance Movement; among other civil society groups.

Mr Ilori said although the commissioner had said the police officers and other government officials who were involved in the illegal operation had been arrested, no one had been charged to court.

“We want all of them arraigned in court including officers of the Lagos State Land Grabbers’ Taskforce and their chairman, Jide Bakare, and get justice for our people,” Mr Ilori said.

“Seun Areku, popularly known as Ijaya, Tobi Oloruntoba, OC Makoko Police Post were those who shot people during the violence, those at the hospital confessed.

“We want the repair of their church, we want compensation for the dead and those in the hospital medical bills must be taken care of and they must stop this act from now on,” he said.

Solomon Gbinigie, the councillor representing Ward A in Yaba local council, said an injustice had been perpetrated against the Ori Oke people.

“There is nobody that has a replacement for human lives, Seyi is gone, Kolawole is gone but the land is there,” Mr Gbinigie said.

“We must ensure that all officers involved in this are brought to book.”

Tunde Emmanuel, the National Public Relations Officer of INAMO, described the attack as a “witchhunt on the Ilaje nation.”

“They have done this in Itedo and three other places in Lagos and what we heard was that Governor Ambode said anywhere the Ilaje are residing in Lagos, they should drive them away,” said Mr Emmanuel.

“This land has been occupied by the Ilaje people for more than 80 years, automatically they are the owner of the land, just recently, the Coker family claimed to be the owner of the land and they have been attacked afterwards.

“The case has been in court and they have won the first time and now they are back in the Court of Appeal.

“People retaliated when they came on Thursday and started destroying their property and they were maimed and killed by the policemen. We are Yorubas and not foreigners, we are entitled to our lands.”

Esther Omisakin, a hairdresser whose shop was set ablaze during the incident, said she was unable to salvage anything from her shop.

“I was called that Taskforce are around and when I got there I saw three vehicles. We were told to start packing our things that they want to burn the shops without any prior warning and before we could park, they have begun throwing broken bottles to the window of the church, spraying bullets for anybody that comes around and the place was set ablaze,” said a tearful Ms Omisakin.

“As they arrived I was just setting up, they went into the church premises arrested Papa and Tobi and told us that they didn’t come for us. They came with hooligans as well.”

Dauda Alade, who does SIM cards registration opposite the church, said hoodlums took away his work tools.

“All of a sudden they started destroying the church. The police who told me that they are not concerned about us and asked me to close my shop were the ones who came back and asked me to open it or else they will shoot it; and immediately I opened it. The gun was hammered on my head and I was dragged into the police van.

“Right there the hooligans took my three laptops for sim registration away alongside phones given to me to charge. Now I am sleeping not having anything to do after I have been released on Saturday from Area C Command alongside Papa and Tobi.”

Maurice Fangon, a professor and the Secretary-General of the Centre for Defence of Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (CHRDA), said the Land Grabbers’ Task Force are always ready to turn any situation into a money making venture for the state government.

“By the time, (governor) Ambode wins the second term, he will do worse,” he said.

“You can see the case of Otodo Gbame and Atiporo. We currently have over 14 cases of forceful eviction, invasion and the likes in court.”

Responding to the protesters, Yetunde Alonge, an Assistant Commissioner of Police who heads the State CIID, said the police would ensure the community gets justice.

“Immediately the incident happened, the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Imohimi Edgal, called the community leaders, issued a press statement and set up an independent committee to investigate the matter,” she said.

Lagos Police Commissioner, Imohimi Edgal. [Photo credit: Lagos State Police Command  ]

“Those identified already to be at the scene of the violence have been arrested and investigation is on-going and the CP will not rest on his oars until justice prevail especially when it comes to community policing issue like this,” she assured the protesters.

Over 6000 Lagos Residents Get Free Medical Care

About 6,072 residents living in Ajeromi local government and Ifelodun local council development areas of the state have benefitted from

About 6,072 residents living in Ajeromi local government and Ifelodun local council development areas of the state have benefitted from a three day State sponsored free medical expedition programme tagged ‘The Eko Health Mission Programme’ which was held in the state.

The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris who made this known on Friday at a news briefing in Lagos explained that residents of the areas benefitted from free health services including consultation and treatment for common ailments as well as screening for hypertension, diabetes, eye care and provision of eye glasses, dental care, family planning services, HIV counseling and testing amongst others.

He said, “Already, a total of 6,072 Lagosians at Ajeromi and Ifelodun LGA&LCDA have benefitted from these services and we expect more residents to turn out en mass and take advantage of the opportunity presented by the programme to get expert care for common ailments and other free health services offered through the mission”.

Giving a breakdown of the figures, the Commissioner disclosed that a total of 3993 people were attended to as General Out-Patients for common ailments and complaints, hypertension and diabetes screening and management, 285 others were also seen and attended to at the Dental Unit, 1,747 people were screened and treated at the Eye unit out of which 548 were given free eye glasses and others screened and counseled at the HIV unit.

Idris added that, “The next points of call for the medical mission team are at Iba Local Council Development Area Secretariat Premises.”

Harping on the importance of the programme, Idris said the state government is continuously finding ways to improve the health status of its ever-increasing population, adding that the plan for achieving this was based on the Health Policy Thrust of the state which is guided by the noble goal that every Lagosian enjoys unfettered access to qualitative healthcare without any barrier whatsoever.

He disclosed that the strategies adopted in implementing these policies include the introduction and provision of various programs that have direct impact on the Health outcome of Lagosians stressing that these programs are geared towards promoting health, detecting diseases early and offering treatment and rehabilitation.

The Commissioner posited that the overarching goal now is ensuring that residents have access to Universal Health Coverage, adding that the Ministry of Health is working tirelessly to develop and implement strategies, programs, interventions and initiatives to improve the health outcome of all Lagosians.

“One of these interventions is the Lagos State Health Mission, which the State Government has used over the years to complement health service delivery in the state. This was put in place, as part of the State Government’s quest to find ways to take healthcare to the grassroots and underserved areas of Lagos State, by addressing pressing health issues of the rural communities in the state”, the Commissioner said.

While noting that the Health Missions are short-term interventions, Idris stated that the programme is geared towards the Strategic Development Plan of ensuring Universal Health Coverage adding that the Missions provide services that take health care to the doorsteps of its citizens at no cost to the people.

“These health missions are significant because they enable this administration to provide healthcare services to all who come irrespective of their age, gender, socioeconomic status and affiliations”, he added.

 

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High Court bars Ikoyi Registry from conducting Marriages

The Federal Registry, Ikoyi, will no longer be able to conduct marriage ceremonies or issue marriage certificates, the High Court

The Federal Registry, Ikoyi, will no longer be able to conduct marriage ceremonies or issue marriage certificates, the High Court in Lagos has ruled.

According to The Cable, a justice, Chuka Austine Obiozor, issued the registry a restraining order from conducting marriages.

It is unconstitutional, the order read, for the federal government to perform the duties of the state and local governments.

Local government and local council development areas of the state are the only legally binding bodies empowered to carry out such functions, the judge’s judgement said.

The Lagos State Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Muslim Folami, in a statement, said the order will be communicated to all stakeholders involved. He said:

We are going to use every available platform in the five divisions across the state to sensitize our people and inform them about this latest development; From Epe to Ikorodu, Badagry, Ikeja and Lagos Island.

Lagos Begins Urban Regeneration Of Ikoyi

Lagos State Government on Wednesday commenced the urban regeneration of Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Ikeja G.R.A, with the unveiling of

Lagos State Government on Wednesday commenced the urban regeneration of Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Ikeja G.R.A, with the unveiling of 45 new road construction equipment and commissioning of newly interlocked road in Lekki.

Speaking at the unveiling, the State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, said the new equipment were procured in line with efforts to reposition the Lagos State Public Works Corporation for the urban regeneration programme aimed at addressing environmental and infrastructural challenges in Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Ikeja G.R.A.

The Governor, who was represented by Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr Rotimi Ogunleye, said the equipment would be immediately deployed across the state for the urban renewal initiative, saying that they would go a long way in ensuring the regeneration of the entire Lagos landscape.

He said, “We are here to commission these machines, equipment and gadgets and to state that these range of products would be deployed immediately to the urban regeneration of Victoria Island, Ikoyi and Ikeja and they are being put in place today to further upgrade the activities of the Lagos State Public Works Corporation so that from their three centres in Badagry, Ojodu and Imota, they can take care of the rest of Lagos State.

“We are at this site to see physically the demonstration of the capability and capacity of the equipment. I want to state emphatically that this development is a sign of the government’s commitment to the regeneration and renewal of the entire Lagos State landscape.

Also speaking, Secretary to the State Government, Mr Tunji Bello said the paving stone machines and road printers were acquired to basically construct roads that would last longer considering the state of the Lagos environment being waterlogged.

“We carefully thought about it before we even embarked on it. It was planned long time ago for the equipment to be acquired and having been acquired, they will be deployed immediately for road construction.”

 

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Lagos Police Command Arrest Nine-Man Gang In Jakande Estate

The Lagos State police command, on Wednesday morning, arrested members of a nine-man gang during an early morning raid on

The Lagos State police command, on Wednesday morning, arrested members of a nine-man gang during an early morning raid on their hideout around Jakande Estate, along Lekki-Epe Expressway, Lagos.

The Guardian gathered that a locally-made single barrel gun and several rounds of ammunition were recovered during the raid which was carried out around 5:30 am.

Lagos Govt To Provide Viewing Centers For World Cup

The Lagos State Government (LASG) on Tuesday said it would provide viewing centres in three locations, Ajegunle, Alimosho and Mushin,

The Lagos State Government (LASG) on Tuesday said it would provide viewing centres in three locations, Ajegunle, Alimosho and Mushin, for the World Cup matches during Russia 2018.

Chairman, Lagos State Sports Commssion (LSSC), Kweku Tandoh, said this at the 2018 ministerial press briefing at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa, Ikeja.

The ministerial press briefing was in commemoration of Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode’s third year in office.

Tandoh said that the state government considered providing the viewing centres due to the importance of football.

According to Tandoh, the viewing centres will also give those who cannot afford to own a Pay TV decoder opportunity to view the matches.

“Lagos State government has concluded plans to construct viewing centres in three locations, Mushin Alimosho and Ajegunle, for the people in those areas to view the world cup.

“This will give opportunity to those that cannot afford the Pay TV to watch those matches live. This will give them a chance to watch those matches via the centres government will provide.

“We know the importance of football in the heart of the people, hence, the government has made the provision so that our people will enjoy the world cup,’’he said.

Otodo-Gbame: Evicted by Lagos govt, stranded residents struggle, die in crowded slums

Our canoe snakes its way sluggishly through dirty waters. We waddle through used plastics, pieces of rubbish, abandoned boats and

Our canoe snakes its way sluggishly through dirty waters. We waddle through used plastics, pieces of rubbish, abandoned boats and wooden structures floating on the Lagos Lagoon.

An unclad little girl stoops over the edge of a wooden pavement, defecating into the water. At a nearby decrepit structure, a group of excited children dip their hands into the smelly water, their clothes soaked in it.

“Our streets don’t smell,” John, the 14-year-old boy paddling the canoe, tells me. “It is because you are not used to this environment,” he added, smiling.

John is a resident of Makoko, a crowded slum listed as one of Africa’s oldest and most famous slums. Known widely as a fishing village, Makoko has survived the Lagos government demolition threats a couple of times.

John says some of the people still live with the fear of eviction, especially after the Otodogbame invasion. “But me I don’t care,” he says, in pidgin English.

WHERE MOST OTODOGBAME LIVED FOR MONTHS WHEN THEY ARRIVED MAKOKO

Unlike John, Elijah Atipo, my tour guide and fellow passenger on the canoe, cares. We journey toward Sogunro and Oko-Agbon – two slum communities adjoining Makoko – to speak with affected Otodo-Gbame evictees.

Mr Atipo himself is an Otodo-Gbame evictee and he speaks of the last invasion of the riverine community, teary eyed.

Otodo-Gbame Destruction

“I remember very clearly the last invasion. It was on a Palm Sunday,” Mr Atipo says.

“No one could take anything from their homes, our properties were all destroyed. It was actually a war.”

He spoke of the violent eviction of the midnight of April 9, 2017, when the police and unidentified armed men invaded the community with bulldozers and chased residents with gunfire and teargas, setting their homes on fire afterwards. But before the April attack, there had been records of destructions and deaths.

The first major destruction exercise occurred in the early hours of November 9, 2016, when some boys with reported ties to the Elegushi chieftaincy family entered the community and set fire to houses.

The destruction occurred a day after a Lagos court ordered the state government to immediately suspend its planned demolition of shanties, and barely a week after the state house of assembly appealed to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to reconsider his demolition plans.

Earlier, the government had announced plans to demolish shanties, as part of a state-wide policy to clear up to 300,000 people from informal waterside settlements.

The Justice and Empowerment Initiative said about 800 homes were torched in the November attack that rendered about 10,000 people homeless. According to Amnesty International, eyewitnesses said some residents drowned in the nearby Lagoon as they ran to safety amid the chaos.

Mr Atipo said although he lost no member of his immediate family in the attack, many other residents were missing after the attack. “No one can accurately account for the number of people that died during the invasions,” he explains.

He now lives around the University of Lagos (UNILAG) environment, studying Web and Graphic Design in a technical school with the support of the JEI but his parents live in a community in faraway Ikorodu. “The place is relatively cleaner and safer,” he says of his parents’ Ikorodu residence.

Other Otodo-Gbame co-evictees, like Pascal Tosinhun, however had no such luxury.

PASCAL WIFE

Sick wife, dead grandson

“My wife is sick now, she is inside that crowded building,” Mr Tosinhun says, his head slightly bent, as he points in the direction of a nearby wooden structure built by the International Mission for Soul Salvation Church.

“My grandson died few months ago; medical people said it was due to all the pressure, chaos, the change of environment and lack of proper care.”

Back in Otodo-Gbame, before the eviction, Mr Tosinhun says he was a known and influential community leader. A socialite, he owned a firm that built and sold canoes in the community, in addition to being a water supplier. He is now a shadow of his former self.

“I have not eaten anything today,” he says, during an interview at noon. “Go check where my wife sleeps, with some of our children. There are four families sleeping in that small room, a family has about six to seven people or more.

“Many times, I go out in the night to hang anywhere, inside the church, anywhere. The Church that built this structure tried, but the problems are just too much.”

Inside the makeshift wooden structure built by the church, Mr Tosinhun’s bedridden wife, Lali Tosinhun, sits on a wooden bed, a few drugs packed in a bowl beside her.

She says she was a successful food seller at Ita-Faji in Lagos Island, before the invasion shattered her business and rendered her penniless. “My legs are swollen; I am very weak,” she struggles to say. “The nurse says it may be due to anxiety and ‘overthinking’,” she explains, forcing a bland smile.

The wooden structure built for evictees by the church is a makeshift one-storey building with about three rooms downstairs and a room at the top. The room occupied by the Tosinhun family houses four other families, each with an average of seven members.

BUILDING BUILT BY CHURCH

“I don’t sleep here in the night,” Mr Tosinhun says. “You can hardly breathe if you sleep here. Even my children are in scattered places in Ajah now; here cannot contain us. It’s a tragic life that we are living.”

Tragic Life

Rebecca Omolaja doesn’t want to speak to PREMIUM TIMES. She looks pale and haggard and struggles to explain that she is ill. When she attempts to speak, she bursts into tears. She finally says a few words, punctuated at every juncture with tears.

REBECCA OMOLAJA

The night before PREMIUM TIMES’ first visit to Makoko and its environs, it rained heavily in some parts of Lagos. This reporter confirmed that two residents of the Sogunro community died in the lagoon due to the thunderstorm that heralded the rain. While many residents in wooden structures in the community complained of the devastating effects of the rain, Mrs Omolaja, who sleeps in an open space outside of a wooden structure in Sogunro, says she has no one to complain to.

“My husband died few months ago,” she says, amid tears. “The hospital people said he died of ‘overthinking’. So who do I complain to?”

Mrs Omolaja has four kids: Ope, a two-year-old boy who clings to her as she speaks to us, and three others who had gone out to nearby Iwaya area to fend for the family before our arrival. She too sits idly on the cold plank that is her bed as she explains how the cold of the previous night had taken a toll on her health. It was around 1:00 pm when we arrived her open space but neither she nor her son, Ope, had eaten since the previous night.

“He (Ope) will eat when the rest come back in the evening,” Mrs Omolaja says. “They work as maids in canteens around Iwaya area; they will be back––Ope will be fine.” She explains that the three kids (an 8-year-old; a 10-year-old; and a 12-year-old) earn N300 each after the day’s work, money with which the family feeds and buy drugs. She explains further that the children stopped schooling after the eviction.

“They were schooling in Lekki but we can hardly feed now, so schooling is not an option,” she says, again amid tears. “Their father’s death too compounded our problems.”

Seven children, no apartment

Mrs Omolaja was not the only Sogunro resident affected by the thunderstorm of the night before PREMIUM TIMES’ visit to the community. A dredger, Whelken Kosi, his wife and seven of their children were also affected.

Kosi

KOSI AND SEVEN CHILDREN

“Since we got here after the eviction, we’ve all been sleeping in the open here,” Mr Kosi, 43, says. “Sometimes, the children get space in the room owned by our host. Many times they don’t. The room is crowded already. It rained last night with serious thunder, the children were just shaking.”

Mr Kosi’s host lost his child to the thunderstorm of the previous night before PREMIUM TIMES’ visit. The deceased boy had gone fishing and was reportedly brought back dead after the storm. Mr Kosi says the family has been thrown into mourning since the incident.

His wife, Kwenkeh Ayensi-Kosi, pleads for help from well-meaning Nigerians. “Our host who is struggling is now bereaved,” she says.

“I used to sell ‘provisions’ in Otodo-Gbame but not anymore. My husband is now a fisherman but there is no money. Almost everyone here is a fisherman. I am shattered now, we need urgent help.”

Mr. Kosi says although the old Otodo-Gbame residents have become dispersed and they do not have details of what is happening to others, he has heard that many people have died since they moved into Makoko and its adjoining communities.

“We just don’t have the exact figures. Too many people have died, especially children. Those who aren’t dead among us are like walking corpses due to ‘excessive thinking’ and depression,” he concludes, with a deep sigh.

The man standing beside him, Senu Abdulsalami, nods his head in agreement.

Walking corpses

Mr Abdulsalami squats on the veranda of a relative’s wooden apartment in Sogunro community, together with his wife and her mother. He is one of the few indigenous Eegun Muslims affected by the Otodo Gbame invasion. He explains that the church management has been supportive but they have barely received any support from any Muslim organization.

ABDULSALAMI SLEEPING SPACE

“The church doesn’t discriminate; they give us materials sometimes but the tragedy is too much for them to effectively handle. We have however not heard from Muslim organisations and I am not the only Muslim affected. We are many. Our hosts and extended families who give us food are beginning to complain. They are poor themselves already.”

Mr Abdulsalami sleeps on a wooden plank placed in the open veranda of the house his wife, her mother and their teenage son squat in. The place is surrounded by women smoking fishes. He explains that the building was already congested before they and other evicted families packed in.

“As the man, I sleep outside here, with mosquitoes and heat and smoke from the firewood,” he says. “Sometimes, the women smoke their fishes till 2’o clock in the morning; that means I don’t sleep until they are done and the smoke is gone. In the day, there is nothing to do. Too many people are doing the same thing here. I think I am one of those ‘walking corpses’ they talked about.”

“Sick, dying people everywhere…”

Agbojete Johnson, the community head (Baale) of Sogunro, explains to PREMIUM TIMES that an epidemic looms in the area due to congestion and poverty.

BAALE OF SOGUNRO

He says: “If you have small food, you have to think about the people who live with you. There is no food, everywhere is filled up.”

Sogunro, together with five ‘separate villages’––Oko-Agbon, Adogbo, Migbewhe, Yanshiwe and Apollo––form part of the communities collectively known as the Makoko-Iwaya waterfront. The population of residents varies according to unofficial figures, between 40,000 to about 80,000.

Mr Johnson, the community head, says the community is saturated already and the situation has been worsened by the influx of the Otodo-Gbame evictees.

“The place is congested already; it is now over-congested. People are falling sick every day. Too many people are living in small apartments. Many sleep outside, even inside this my palace. Sick, dying people everywhere…”

He called on government to address the Otodo-Gbame crisis and cater for the people’s welfare.

A people left in the lurch?

Over the years, the Otodo-Gbame people fought to remain in their community amidst threats of eviction from the Elegushi chieftaincy family and the government.

In 2014, a prince from the royal family arrived the community to place a seven-day eviction notice. The inhabitants headed to court and by 2015, the community had instituted two suits before the court – one over land ownership against the Elegushi family at the state high court and another over the destruction of over 250 of their houses in 2013.

WATERWAYS

On the October 9, 2016, Mr Ambode ordered the demolition of illegal structures in waterfronts across the state and gave the inhabitants a seven-day ultimatum to vacate the areas.

Last November, the people stormed Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja to protest the delay in their resettlement. In his reaction, the State’s Commissioner for Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations, Seye Oladejo, said the government was aware of the peoples’ pains and would ameliorate their plight. Residents lament that nothing has come out of the promise.

On Thursday, calls and messages sent to the state commissioner for information and strategy, Kehinde Bamigbetan, were not responded to.

Like Mr Tosinhun, many residents of Otodo-Gbame who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES believe they were short-changed by politicians in the state who only lured them to vote their parties and rejected them after the election.

“We voted Ambode, I remember very well,” Mr Tosinhun, a community leader who said he was privy to the details of the meetings, explains. “Before the (2015) elections, there had been threats but Baba (Bola) Tinubu intervened and begged us to vote APC when the war started with the Elegushi people.

“The same Ambode we voted for was the one who evicted us.”