SPN DEMANDS ADEQUATE COMPENSATION FOR VICTIMS OF DEMOLITIONS OF SHANTIES AT FAGBA/AGEGE AXIS OF LAGOS STATE – RIGHTS MONITORS

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The Lagos State Chapter of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) has vehemently denounced the recent demolition of shanties in Fagba/Agege areas and its environs and also advocates public funded and affordable mass housing for workers and the poor.

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In a recent statement made available to Rights Monitors News signed by Mr. Rufus Olasesan and Moshood Adebola Oshunfurewa both Lagos State Chairman and Secretary of SPN, it maintained that in view of the lack of provision of adequate compensation for the affected victims, it is absolutely a merciless act, orchestrated by the Lagos Taskforce under the reign of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s All Progressive Government (APC) and it exposes a calculated strategy to further entrench the interests of the super-rich and the ruling party’s allies, while disregarding the plight of the marginalized and the poor.

The statement reads further:
“CSP Shole Jejeloye, chairman of the Lagos Taskforce, brazenly recounts the eviction process with little regard for human dignity, showcasing the authoritarian approach employed by those in power. This display of unchecked authority serves as a reminder that the marginalized are often left defenseless in the face of such state-driven actions. The SPN underscores that the absence of affordable, accessible housing alternatives contributes to the perpetuation of shanty settlements, and these victims deserve a better and more dignified housing and social infrastructure.

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“As we scrutinize the economic landscape, the recent report by Lagos State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Sam Egube, paints a disturbing picture of revenue abundance. Despite this substantial financial influx, it is truly disheartening that a significant portion of Lagosians continue to endure the squalor of shanty living conditions. The vast chasm between the state’s financial prowess and the destitution of its citizens reveals a stark reality wherein the present socioeconomic structure is used to unleash exploitation and perpetuate inequality and massive poverty.

“The existence of shanties extends beyond Fagba, reaching into other axis of Lagos, including esteemed locales like Lekki, Pen Cinema in Agege, Ajegunles, Ikorodu, and various other Local Government Areas. This evidence provides unequivocal proof that the touted mega city concept endorsed by the APC ruling party is fundamentally flawed, grounded in a foundation of social inequality and injustice.

“We vehemently condemn these demolitions, a grievous offense amplified by the insensitivity of the governing ruling elite to the plight of people. The implementation of anti-poor policies at both state and national levels has intensified the suffering of the working class and ordinary citizens, highlighting the need for an alternative approach to governance.

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“As a political party, we duly recognize that urban renewal is a permanent feature of any fast growing city like Lagos state and that it cannot take place without frequent demolition, refurbishing, expansion and rebuilding of built structures, road networks, layout and landscapes to suit the ever-changing needs of society. Unfortunately, most demolitions taking place in Lagos state are not meant for the greater good, rather they are often done by corrupt state government officials to grab land on behalf of property developers looking to gentrify seized landed property for their profit-making. Over the years, many people in Lagos have been made homeless as a result of this criminal enterprise. This is why we in the SPN oppose these demolitions and demand that in situations where demolitions are required, the decision of how and when to go about it must be taken with due democratic consultation with the affected victims as well as community associations, trade unions and civil society.

“In light of these injustices, the SPN demands the immediate provision of adequate compensation for victims affected by the Lagos State demolition, not only in Fagba/Agege, but across all local government areas. Oftentimes the Lagos state government hinges its refusal to pay compensation on the specious arguments that victims are illegal occupants or squatters. As far as we are concerned, this argument holds no water. Every Nigerian has a constitutional right to shelter and it is the duty of the state to provide it. Therefore, where anyone has provided themselves shelter as they see fit in the absence of the state performing its duty, it behooves on the state to have an alternative arrangement ready for them if it has to remove them for any reason whatsoever. This alternative arrangement should include relocation of affected victims to and settlement in a new area alongside provision of conducive shelter that enhances the dignity of the affected persons.

“We fervently advocate for the construction of affordable, low-cost housing initiatives that are subject to democratic control and management by workers and community members. This will mark a pivotal departure from previous endeavors that prioritizes d profit over the welfare of the people, and seeks to foster a more equitable and just society.

“The SPN remains unwavering in its commitment to champion the rights and well-being of all Nigerians, and calls upon fellow advocates of justice, equality, and solidarity to join forces in our pursuit of a fair and inclusive society”.

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