Mass Demolition of Homes in Oworonshoki: Lagos Government Makes Over 10,000 Homeless

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Over 10,000 poor working people in Lagos state have been rendered homeless by the state government. These are residents of Oworonshoki in the Kosofe Local Government Area. This is yet another incident of land grabbing by the capitalist Lagos State Government under the capitalist government of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu. 

This wicked anti-poor people onslaught started on 24 July 2023. Officials of the Lagos State Police Task Force acting on the directive of the Lagos State Ministry of Environment invaded the Mosafejo and Precious Seed Communities of Oworonshoki with bulldozers and armed police officers and started burning and demolishing houses without even allowing people to take their properties. This wave of demolition soon spread across communities such as PreciousCoker, Oke-Eri, Odunifa, Lone, Ogo-Oluwa, Agbarajesu and Precious Seed. About 1000 homes were either burned or knocked down by bulldozers rendering over 10,000 residents of these Oworonshoki communities homeless. 

This illegal displacement of poor people and the destruction of their communities is one of the many anti-people policies of the ruling class especially under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) regime. The Lagos State Government is notorious for forceful evictions and the destruction of homes and workplaces of working people. According to a 2017 Amnesty International investigation, nearly two million Lagosians had been forcibly evicted from their homes and workplaces by Lagos State officials over the last two decades. And these evictions have continued since Sanwo-Olu became governor in 2019, leading to protests such as those organised by the Federation of Informal Workers’ Organisations of Nigeria (FIWON) in 2021. 

 The main aim of these forceful evictions is to grab land from the poor and redistribute it  the ruling class through private developers. The Socialist Workers league (SWL) condemn this forceful eviction and calls on the Governor Sanwo-Olu-led APC government in Lagos State to halt the ongoing demolition exercise immediately.  We also demand immediate resettlement and compensation for people that have been made homeless as a result of the demolition exercise. The right to shelter is a fundamental human right which is guaranteed in the Nigerian constitution. The Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of state policy, as stated in Section 16(2)(d) of the 1999 constitution, provide that the state shall direct its policy towards ensuring that suitable and adequate shelter is provided for all citizens. 

The ruling APC governments in Lagos and at the federal level have continued to wage economic war against the working-class and poor people of Nigeria. In the last two months, school fees have been hiked, and the pump price of petrol has increased by over 200% selling at N617 per litre currently with the removal of subsidy. These hikes have immediately triggered sharp increases in transportation fares and prices of goods and services, thereby subjecting working-class people in Nigeria to even greater hardship despite over 133 million people living in multidimensional poverty already. 

The Lagos State Government is sending more people to the streets instead of making policies to help those suffering from hunger, poverty, unemployment, and high living costs.

Until justice is achieved, the SWL will support and stand with Oworonshoki’s affected communities and their working-class people. 

We must continue to organise, mobilise, unite and fight!

by Jhamo TOWOLAWI

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