Tuesday, 22 June 2010

News Release: DPA Wants Assembly’s Probe Of Lagos State Demolitions Extended To Maroko

                                         [Fashola: Lagos state Governor]

The Democratic Peoples’ Alliance (DPA) wants the Lagos State House of Assembly to extend its current probe of demolished structures to the Maroko incident of 1989.

Recalling that it had rekindled the case for compensation for Maroko evictees March last year, Lagos state DPA according to a statement by Director of Publicity, Felix Oboagwina, said the terms of reference for the Assembly’s ad hoc panel investigating demolitions in Lagos must include the settlement of victims who lost their homes 20 years ago when the Military government of General Raji Rasaki sacked residents and leveled their settlement at the Atlantic seaside.

“Perhaps this is the appointed time. Hopefully, the House of Assembly will answer the prayers of the victims of Maroko and finally lay the ghost of that injustice to rest,” DPA said. “It is a pity that 20 years after the demolition and balkanisation of Maroko, home owners and landlords have not been compensated or rehabilitated. This did not happen even when the Oputa Panel told then Governor Bola Tinubu to apologise for the misdeed, as well as resettle and compensate victims.”

The party also admonished the House to take the government to task over paying due compensation to Lagosians whose homes and business premises had been felled by the government of Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola.

DPA said the regime had cases to answer in the demolition of Dominion Chapel at Dolphin Estate despite an authentic Certificate of Occupancy (C of O), as well as other demolitions in Ayobo, Oshodi Market, Ijeshatedo, Apapa-Badagry expressway, Lekki, etc.

Urging the House to discountenance the government’s attitude that only victims with government-issued Certificates of Occupancy would receive compensation, the party described such a policy as “wicked, pernicious, mischievous and ill-advised.”

In the words of DPA: “The fact is that C of O or not, these houses existed and they were owned and occupied by people. In any demolition, someone lost his house and that person deserves protection, compensation and rehabilitation by the almighty government.”

According to the party, it was usually difficult to obtain a C of O, and even houses built and sold by the government had not been issued C of Os decades after owners purchased them.

DPA said: “More than DPA can do as a political party, advocacy group or pressure group, the Lagos State House of Assembly has a unique and historical opportunity to bring badly needed relief, succour, rehabilitation and compensation to these people. The Legislature must not fail.”

The party also asked the House to legislate against indiscriminate demolitions by the government, except only after due preparations had been made for the affected people.

According to DPA, the House must get the government to put together a comprehensive resettlement and compensation package for the 300,000 victims ejected from some 10,000 Maroko houses by the Brigadier Raji Rasaki regime in 1989.

Recalling its March 2009 campaign, the party said: “Until these two arms of government successfully address this 20-year wrong by bringing succour to the displaced Maroko people, and halt the planned ejection of 5,000 Maroko families taking refuge in Ikota Estate, then they should regard their tenure in Lagos as a failure.”

The party regarded the 1989 evictions as robbing the poor to pay the rich because “the Military government deprived commoners of their land holdings, sand-filled the whole place and reallocated Maroko to more privileged people.”

Felix Oboagwina
Director of Publicity,
Lagos state DPA .