Despair As Lagos Neighbourhood Razed For Planned Highway – UrduPoint

News

Gbuzue, 35, heaved mattresses and furniture into a trailer bound for the other side of the city of 20 million people, where his wife and two children had already taken shelter.

But he slept near the wreckage of his house that night because he couldn’t afford to pay more for his commute to work the next day.

But Kunle Adeshina, the Lagos environment ministry’s director of public affairs, said the demolitions were also “about the regeneration of the city.”

The authorities say the houses are illegal, and Adeshina pointed to the arrest of seven people for allegedly carrying guns and confronting enforcement officers in the neighbourhood on Tuesday.

Many in the lagoon-side metropolis live in informal settlements.

Residents in Jakande had been told homes along the highway route would be destroyed imminently, and some thought it was just a rumour — but the sudden arrival of the diggers caught several thousand families off guard.

As crammed trucks made their way through clouds of dust, men picked through ruined streets looking for scrap metal to sell, while women and children waited with hurriedly-packed suitcases for a ride out.

Blessing John, a 35-year-old mother, wiped away tears as she tried to drag an old foam mattress through the rubble.

Nine months pregnant and about to give birth, she said she had no choice but to spend the night on the street.

She was one of many unsure where to go.

“We will sleep here tonight, there is nothing else to do,” said Peter Nwakpa Chinedu, standing next to the digger that had just flattened the house where he lived with 10 members of his family.

Many of Jakande’s residents were rehoused in the district after local authorities evicted them from nearby Maroko in 1990.

The Lagos government gave them deeds to flats in buildings that were never completed, and many residents now live in small cement houses beside the unfinished structures.

It’s the second time in 34 years that Omolola Adekule, 68, has seen her home demolished.

“They scattered my house in Maroko, they scattered my house in Jakande,” she said. “I’m not feeling good — my blood pressure is high. We have no place to stay.”

The last major eviction in Lagos took place in 2020, when the army ordered thousands of residents to leave Tarkwa Bay beach following accusations that national oil company infrastructure there was vandalised.

Since Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu came to power and brought in reforms last year, Nigeria has plunged deep into an economic crisis.