Police detain evicted Lagos community residents for trying to see governor

The Lagos State Police on Thursday broke up a sit-in protest by evicted residents of Otodogbame riverine community, dispersing the protesters who were demanding compensation.

PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday reported how about 500 protesters, including women and children, marched to the office of the state governor from the Moshood Abiola Gardens in Ojota.

The protesters were among more than 30,000 evicted forcefully by the Lagos state government in 2016, as part of a move by the city authorities to remove shanty towns.

On Tuesday, Amnesty International published a report calling the evictions from the poor fishing community “unlawful”, demanding an investigation into the violence.

But the state government, through Steve Ayorinde, the Commissioner for Information, denounced the report.

Many of the evictees have reportedly died since the first phase of the eviction started in November 2016.

On Thursday, the Lagos State Task Force moved in when the protesters stormed the entrance of the governor’s office to pass the night with the hope of seeing the governor.

According to the founder of Justice and Empowerment Initiative, Megan Chapman, police brought three ‘black maria’ mobile detention vehicles and arrested many of the protesters, especially men.

“We have reports from inside that one vehicle was packed with 46 demonstrators. We believe the others contain similar numbers,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

Speaking with AFP news agency, Raymond Gold, an official of the Nigerian Slum and Informal Settlement Federation, said about 100 protesters were held and some of them were wounded.

Efforts to speak with the Lagos state police spokesperson, Olarinde Famous-Cole, were futile. But he told AFP on Thursday that he had no information about any arrests.

He, however, added that “it is a breach of security for anybody to be found within the vicinity of the governor’s office without authorisation after office hours.”

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