The African Bar Association has threatened to sue Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State before the ECOWAS Court and the African Court of Human Right in Tanzania, ”if the government refuses to listen to the appeal of people rendered homeless by the state”.
Hannibal Uwaifo, the association’s president, said this at a press conference in Lagos Tuesday.
He urged the governor to resettle displaced residents of Oke-Egan Community, Ibeju-Lekki Local Government, following demolition of their houses by the state government.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the community, during a protest to the Lagos State House of Assembly, alleged that the state’s Task Force on Physical Planning had on February 9 demolished about 400 houses without formal notice.
Mr Uwaifo said that from the petition it received, as of Tuesday, over 5,000 displaced families were now on the streets, ”because they don’t have anywhere to go”.
He urged the state government to consider the socioeconomic implications of the displaced families and give them adequate compensations.
“Our prayer is that we want the state governor, who has been doing well, and the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, to resettle the people to their land and pay them adequate compensation.
“Currently, some of them are sleeping in motor parks, and under the bridges, while some are here in our office taking refuge.
“The state government should be able to address this issue so that the state won’t be seen in the international arena in bad light,” he said.
The association’s president said ”the state government should take an urgent step because businesses and employment had been ‘stiffed’ by the COVID-19 pandemic”.
He said investigations had shown that ”the people have been living in the area for over 15 to 20 years, and now are homeless”.
“Where do we go from here? To recover land and destroy property worth billions of naira, for who and in whose interest? That is our concern.
“The state government should be for the people; if the people are looking for land, and for shelter, government should find land for them.
“It is the responsibility of government to resettle people who built on wrong places and advised them on the way forward.
“Not to destroy their properties in their presence; where is the justice to the poor, because that area is the place for low income earners.
“They don’t have money to buy land in highbrow areas and that is why people are moving afar to settle,” he said.