Over 100 slum dwellers in Otodo Gbame community besieged the Lagos State Government House, Wednesday, protesting dredging and sand-filling activities near their homes.
Otodo Gbame is a predominantly fishing village in Lekki.
The community people demanded an immediate stop to the dredging activities at the Otodo Gbame lagoon by Destiny Dredgers’ International (DDI) Ltd, purportedly owned by Lekki Gardens.
”The sand-filling by DDI is causing serious suffering and hardship to the people of Otodo Gbame and is even threatening our way of life and very existence,” the community stated in a letter to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and Mudashiru Obasa, Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly.
The letter were signed by Dansu Hunkpe, the Baale of Otodo Gbame; Paschal Tosinhun, a community leader; and Emmanuel Anasu, the community para-legal.
“The sand-filling of our lagoon and fishing grounds has caused severe hunger in the land. We no longer have money to send our children to school since our fishermen’s work has been cut off,” said the letter.
The land reclamation activity began around August, last year, with the community people watching helplessly as the massive dredging destroyed their fishing traps as well as cut off access to their traditional fishing grounds in the lagoon.
The slum dwellers, mostly women and children, arrived the Government House around noon in commercial buses (known as Danfo) and proceeded to chant solidarity songs. A security guard told them to move away from the gate and, also, “stay away from the flowers.”
The protesters said the dredging had caused water from the main lagoon to stop flowing freely to and from their community.
“It is affecting our community’s health – and leading to the outbreak of disease that killed many of the children in our community.
“If you visit our community today, the odour from the now stagnant water overwhelms the senses such as we never experienced before now.”
After hours of chanting and dancing under the afternoon sun, Taiwo Ayedun, the Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Civic Engagement, came out to address the crowd.
Mr. Ayedun said Mr. Ambode was attending the birthday celebration of former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, in Abuja and was yet to return.