Sources close to the state government informed us during an investigation into the matter that the demolition was carried out because the government had strong intelligence reports that militants had moved into the area in preparation to launch attacks in Lekki and the Victoria Island axis.
An official of the state government, who requested anonymity, categorically denied that the state’s officials killed any resident of the riverine settlement and said this security measure was taken in the overall interest of all Lagosians stating that “these stories are malicious and mischievious”.
The source stressed that the state government places a high premium on security and that it will not
abdicate in its duty to protect the lives and property of all residents. He added “The killing of security agents in the Ishawo area of Lagos further strengthens the resolve of the government to clear the illegal settlement at Otodo Gbame.
“The State government will stop at nothing to secure the State and is willing to take unpopular decisions to in the best interest of the State. The Otodo Gbame situation is one of such. We are sure that posterity will justify this action”.
It was restated that the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode-led government of the state is committed to the safety of lives and properties of the residents of the state, which the government has demonstrated with the massive amount of resources spent to equip and motivate the state’s police command.
He explained the Governor would always respect the rule of law and would never approve any operation that could lead to the death of law abiding and innocent residents of the state.
“Our Governor can never compromise the security of lives and properties of the residents of the state. So, he could not have allowed the security agents in the state carry out an operation that could lead to the death of Innocent members of the public.
The demolition exercise was carried out based on recommendations from the state’s security monitoring team, which officials he said painstakingly monitored the activities of hoodlums in the area.
The government was still waiting for the settlers to relocate but the action was brought forward because of the security reports received. The reports revealed that the place required urgent action to prevent a security breakdown and escalation that could pose more threats to the security of the metropolitan state.
In addition, it was learnt that the settlement in Otodo Gbame is illegal without any title or appropriate approval for the current inhabitants.
The state government in its desire for urban renewal and regeneration had previously given the residents of this shanty notice to evacuate the area. The state government, we are told, was not ready to condone the existence of another shanty in the state with “people living on sticks on water”.
Our source informed us that the state government “will not succumb to emotional blackmail and will stand by this decision because it is in the best interest of all residents of Lagos State.