I Omolara Oriye, a human rights activist and Nigerian lawyer absolutely condemn the demolition and forced eviction of the residents of Otodogbame Community on the 17th of March 2017 by the Lagos State Government. The forceful eviction and demolition was in blatant contravention of the court order, and absolute disregard for the rule of law.
Around 7:30 am on Friday 17th March 2017, the residents of Otodogbame were reportedly visited by uniformed men, including but not limited to the Nigerian police armed with guns and tear gas in the company of excavators and caterpillars. The community leaders reportedly approached them and tried to defuse the situation to no avail.
Per reports from community members, the uniformed men proceeded to demolish the settlement without giving the residents the opportunity to retrieve their belongings therefore rendering the water front dwellers homeless and destitute.
On the 19th of March, 2017, around 5:00pm, the residents of Otodogbame had been completely rendered homeless without any recourse. It is worthy of mention that the Lagos State government did not issue a prior notice to the community neither did it make alternative provision for shelter or alternative resettlement.
The demolition of Otodgbame, is a blatant disregard for the order of court, it is unconstitutional, illegal, discriminatory, inhumane and a flagrant contravention of section 34(1)(a) the right to dignity of every person and protection against Subjection to inhumane and degrading treatment, and Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights which also protects every individual from all forms of exploitation and degradation.
To this end, I and other concerned Nigerians condemn this act of impunity on the part of Lagos state Government and demand that the rule of law be followed in dealing with the water front dwellers. Lagos state is not above the rule of law and it must desist from acts unbecoming of a democratic society.