Badagry residents Criticize N500m loss to illegal demolition exercise

Roundabout at the entrance of Badagry town.

The recent demolition of houses and shops in Morogbo in Badagry, Lagos State, has brought untold hardships to the affected residents and traders, who are still counting their losses.

Last week, the affected people, who put their loss at close to N500 million called on Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to come to their aid.

Morogbo is in Olorunda Local Council Development Area (LCDA).

Relating their experiences to journalists last week, they alleged that the immediate past Sole Administrator of Olorunda LCDA, Mr Solomon Bolaji, did not give them any prior notice before the exercise was carried out.

A petition to the police on the demolition by Oguns Estate Management on behalf of the owners of the demolished property put the value of the property at N468.4 million.

One of them, Mrs Wuraola Agbe, a landlady whose house was affected, was of the opinion that the demolition exercise  was effected “not for any altruistic reason, but rather for selfish reasons that had rendered many people homeless, with goods worth millions of naira destroyed.”

According to her, the LCDA intended to remove property and businesses that may compete with a new shopping complex it put in place.

“I had eight tenants, and I have lived in the same house since 1991. I built it and used the front as lockup shops.

“I travelled out of Lagos, and a tenant called me on April 13 at 6am to say that my house was being demolished.

“I hurried back to Lagos and have been living like a refugee because I lost everything.

“Government should please help us before I die of heart attack,” she said.

Another affected person, who is a staff of Ojo Local Government, Mr Yemi Aliu, said that the demolition had drastically affected his family, “as the little additional income made by my wife has all gone.”

“My wife had a shop there where she was selling drinks. We were shocked at 6a.m. on that day when bulldozers arrived. They destroyed shops, goods, houses and people’s belongings.

“They continued with the demolition while some people who were around struggled to salvage their belongings,” he said.

Mr. DotunOladimeji said that the sole administrator told two landlords earlier that their activities were affecting the operation of the shopping complex.

“We pay various monthly levies to the LCDA; so, for the chairman (sole administrator) to wake up one morning and order demolition of our buildings is shocking.

“We are begging the state government to help us because we are stranded,” he said.

The representatives of the displaced persons, Messrs Sylvester Ogbonaya, OluwoleFatoki and Pastor David, also appealed for the state government’s intervention.

The Morogbo Market Leader, Chief Bolaji Bello informed Journalists that he had no hand in the demolition.

“I did not erect permanent structures but I had several containers which I rented out as shops.

“I was not aware of the demolition and will not support demolition of people’s houses and shops,” he said.

When contacted, the former LCDA’s sole administrator said: “They said I ordered the demolition; let them bring evidence; if they have no evidence, they don’t have any case.

“Have you seen any place when anybody built under a high tension wire?

“Anyway, I don’t want to say much today. I don’t know anything about any demolition. If they have any evidence that I was there, let them present it.”