Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

Stop Demolition Exercise in Ajegunle Now!

Stop Demolition Exercise in Ajegunle Now!

Ajeromi Ifelodun Community Movement (AICOM) is a community based movement that has been in defense of community right and collective aspirations of the people of Ajegunle, Lagos, community for some years years.

Recently, AICOM observed that a substantial number of buildings used for different purposes such as houses, churches, mosques and shops along Olumokun, Layinka, Sanusi and Oduduwa streets have been marked for demolition by Lagos State Government.

Earlier over 1,500 buildings had been demolished along canals which rendered not fewer than 100,000 people homeless and properties worth millions of naira to be destroyed while 5 persons were recorded dead, in circumstances not unrelated to the demolition.

According to the Lagos State government this looming demolition is meant to pave way for construction of an ultra modern four-lane express road that will link Oduduwa, Layinka, Olumokun streets in Amukoko community via a bridge that is already in its early stage of its construction at the end of Layinka Street. AICOM welcomes development, more so in Ajegunle which goes about with the sobriquet of Jungle City! However, development can only be meaningful if it brings joy and happiness to the people that are to enjoy its gains and benefits and not mental, emotional and physical pains. It is on this basis that AICOM opposes the four-lane express road that the Lagos State government intends to construct in the above-stated areas. A sub-urban area like Ajegunle community does not need a four lane express road because land space for such project is simply not available, except now the Lagos State government consciously has designed such a project to render people homeless.

However, if the government is hell bent at demolishing structures, it should only commence the exercise after it has provided alternative decent accommodation and adequate compensation to all landlords, with or without a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O). After all every house pays tenement rate to the government and simply evicting tenants will be render them homeless.

Suffice to stress that governments in other parts of the world where this kind of project takes place, always seek people’s views and opinion as important part of the whole project. This approach is what AICOM expect Lagos state government to have adopted earlier before embarking on the demolition. After all, democracy is supposed to entail participation and well-being of the people.

Undoubtedly, as in the case of victims of the earlier demolition exercise in Ajegunle, another exercise will only unleash more suffering and pains to the entire people of the community. For instance, not fewer than 200 houses in Layinka, Oduduwa, Olumekun and Sanusi will be demolished and consequently render over 14,000 residents homeless. With this, the rate of crime and prostitution will be definitely on the rise. Moreover, a lot of landlords who pay their tenement rate regularly to the Lagos State will be rendered homeless. Besides, no fewer than 10,000 school aged children will be thrown out of schools.

Following above-stated calamitous effect of the demolition exercise, AICOM hereby demands:

  • Lagos State Government should stop the demolition exercise in Ajegunle
  • The government should in immediate period initiate an interactive meeting with the entire people of Ajegunle so as to deliberate among other things the kind of development they want in their community.
  • The Government should compensate people whose buildings have been already demolished
  • Government should provide alternative decent accommodation and adequate compensation for landlords, with or without C of O, tenants and shop owners if it has to continue with the demolition project.
  • Labour and Civil Society groups should immediately intervene to prevent Lagos State Government from rendering people of Ajegunle homeless
  • AICOM as a community based organization is prepared to mobilize Ajegunle residents for peaceful protests, lobbying and other democratic and legitimate actions to press home the above demands.

    How to Support the struggle

    • Participate actively at all meetings, peaceful protests and other legitimate actions
    • Write protest letter to government and media
    • Contribute to the fighting fund needed to prosecute the struggle to the logical conclusion.