The recent demolition of buildings at the Iwaya area of Lagos has drawn the attention of many. The demolition took place last week Friday, 18th August, 2017. There had been conflicting reports as to the exact reasons why the Lagos state government took that action.
According to investigation, the land belongs to the University of Lagos, and they have served quit notice to the occupants of the area before then. YMonitor gathered that the occupants of the land are aware of the fact that the land belong to the University but remained obstinate, there were even unconfirmed report that they went to court on the matter.
“The Land had been this way for a long time, I grew up here, it started out with people using planks to construct wooden houses, but subsequently brick buildings started springing up with few sophisticated structures. The Land belongs to the school, and we are aware, but people never took it seriously” said a resident in the Iwaya area.
One of the community leaders popularly known as Baba Balogun also confirmed this when he told YMonitor that “The case of the land is peculiar, we are not surprise at the demolition, because the land actually belong to the University of Lagos, although we have been looking for ways to resolve the case with the school but the occupants of the land are not even helping matters. They have been served notice on several occasion, the issue had been on ground for several years, and the occupants are aware” he said
There had been reports that the houses were unjustly demolished and occupants of the land were not served notice, though it is true that the government did not inform the people that they were coming at the date they came, and this may not be unconnected to the recent killing of a boy in the area.
YMonitor gathered that the boy was allegedly butchered by suspected cultists; it is believed that the area demolished has become hideout for miscreants, and a place where all sort of criminal activities take place. It is believed that the perpetrators of that dastardly act are from the area.
“The issue had been on ground before now, in fact the file for the demolition had been in the governor’s office, but the recent killing of a boy whose body was found in a building must have triggered the demolition” said a baba Balogun.
Another resident of the area also claimed that “The killing of the boy must have angered the governor given the security situation in the state, the place has become hideout for all sort of people, miscreants and even cultist”
An occupant also told YMonitor that “Though I live here but I am happy that the government carried out the demolition because of what the place has turned to”
Baba Balogun said that University of Lagos claimed that they are in dire need of the land for future developmental purpose, thus necessitating the demolition.
There are those who are genuinely affected by the demolition, especially given the fact that they were not provided with alternatives.
The question is, how do we draw the line? Government probably intervenes for security reasons, the Land belong to the University of Lagos; the people are aware but stayed put, hoping that the government will provide alternatives. Perhaps the will of the state supersedes that of the individual.