Makoko residents raise fresh alarm over planned demolition of their communities – The Sun Nigeria

By Daniel Kanu

Makoko residents have again raised the alarm over a secret plot by the Lagos State government to illegally displace them from their ancestral land.

The residents alleged that the state government had perfected plans to dislodge them from their family heritage, and appealed to well-meaning Nigerians and the international community to come to their rescue.

 At a forum organised by the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) for community leaders, civil society organisations, and the media, Makoko leaders lamented the hardship caused to them by the sand-filling and dredging works ongoing on the shorelines of Makoko.

Speaking on the occasion, environmental activist, Dr Nnimmo Bassey, advised the Lagos State government to improve the environment and lives of Makoko residents rather than planning to displace the people.

Speaking on the topic: “Reclamation, displacement and livelihood loss in Makoko,” Nnimmo said: “The plan behind the dredging of Makoko, the denial of services to Makoko communities like electricity, lack of schools, sanitation, the total neglect by government, must be condemned.

 “Makoko is a city on its own and must be developed by the government. The Makoko communities have rights that must be respected. You cannot treat the residents with disdain because you think they are poor and because you have power.

“You cannot displace them from their ancestral lands without considering the environmental impact assessment, without consulting them and getting their consent because you want to sell their lands to the rich class.”

Also condemning government’s planned action, the Executive Director, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), Comrade Akinbode Oluwafemi, said when

the government created the Ministry of Waterfront, he thought the aim was to look into the plight of communities on the waterfronts.

“But it has now become the agent for land grabbing. They have over-commercialised Lagos. What

government wants is Makoko’s land without Makoko’s people. We say a resounding no to it.”

Other leaders and Chiefs who spoke on the occasion included Elder Claudius Akintimehin, Baale Aji, Baale

Jeje, Baale Shemede, Comrade Olasele Tobi, and Evangelist Dosunga Isaac,   among others. They all appealed to the government to consider that they are fisher folks who make a living from the natural environment.

 They warned that they would resist any government’s attempt to displace them, advising that the ongoing dredging and sand filling must stop due to the danger of flooding in the area during the rainy season.

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