- More than 600 people evicted from Otodo Gbame community marched to the office of the Lagos state governor to mark one year since the violent and unconstitutional evictions from their community
- About five hundred protesters remained outside the office of the Lagos State Governor as night fell
- The evictees marched to the office of the Lagos state governor to demand justice in line with the government's promises and orders of the Lagos state High Court that they be resettled
More than 600 evictees and other members of the Nigerian Slum / Informal Settlement Federation on Wednesday, November 15, gathered at Ojota and marched to the office of the Lagos state governor to demand justice in line with the government's own promises and the orders of the Lagos state High Court that evictees should be resettled.
After some time, a delegation from the Lagos state government led by the Commissioner of Home Affairs and the Commissioner of Special Duties came out to address them.
These two commissioners are part of an ad hoc committee set up in April 2017 that had met with evictees and promised relief and shelter.
Since evictees submitted a list of persons affected, there has been no response whatsoever from the government to several follow-up communications.
As such, when the commissioners again asked evictees to "exercise patience" evictees decided to stand their ground and wait at the Lagos state government's office until the governor deems it fit to address them and ensure his government make good on their promises.
However, nearly five hundred peaceful protesters remained on the protest ground outside the office of the Lagos state governor as night fell.
They sang and danced, they prayed collectively, and they settled in to spend the night in hopes the governor would address them in the morning.
Just after midnight, the Lagos state Task Force (a specialized police force) reportedly stormed the protest ground and began beating the peaceful demonstrators.
They brought three "Black Maria" mobile detention vehicles and arrested many of the protesters, especially men. There are reports that one vehicle was packed with 46 demonstrators as others contained similar numbers.
They were taken first to the Task Force office at Oshodi in Lagos and then to the State Criminal Investigations Division of the police at Panti, Yaba in Lagos, where they are now.
Those arrested include a number of leaders of the Nigerian Slum / Informal Settlement Federation and JEI community paralegals.
The remaining protesters, mainly women and children, were chased away from the governor's office and had to hide themselves along the roads in the surrounding area.
Justice & Empowerment Initiatives (JEI) condemns in the strongest possible terms the use of force and unlawful arrest of peaceful protesters who have come out to demand justice and an end to forced evictions that plague the urban poor.
According to an earlier report by NAIJ.com, Lagos state government on Tuesday, November 14, accused Amnesty International of inaccuracies in their report about the demolition of Otodo Gbame, a settlement in the riverine area of the state.
The Lagos statement government made the clarification in a press statement made available to NAIJ.com by Steve Ayorinde, commissioner for information and strategy.
Ayorinde said Lagos state government has no interest in the land because it's a private property.
Otodo Gbame: I lost four children to the demolition on NAIJ.com TV.