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Squatters Bemoan Demolition At Lagos Beaches

Posted by BY GBENGA OLORUNSIWA on 2004/08/22 | Views: 1209 |

Squatters Bemoan Demolition At Lagos Beaches


Dejection and agony were conspicuously written on the faces of the traders and tent owners at the Bar and Kuramo beaches at the weekend when The Guardian visited the sites during the week.

Dejection and agony were conspicuously written on the faces of the traders and tent owners at the Bar and Kuramo beaches at the weekend when The Guardian visited the sites during the week.

These long faces were not unconnected with the losses they have recorded since the Lagos State government demolished structures on the beaches.

Mr Sunday Adewuyi who lost his shelter said: "They came here on Wednesday last week. We knew they were coming that day because we heard a gun shot. Each time we heard a gunshot, we knew they were around. We were not really surprised that they were around again, because that is how they do. They came that day and threw away all our tables, burnt our tents and shelters. They even carted away some of our property. We don't know what they want to use those things for."

Adewuyi, who alleged that the Lagos State government is frustrating them on the beach, said he lost about N40. 000 to the exercise.

"We don't understand what is going on here. Those who rely on trading on this beach will definitely suffer," he said. "I for one, I thank God because I have another small business that I do on the side apart from selling here. We are never told the situation of things. They never told us why they are doing what they are doing. Each time they came, they destroyed property and leave. I can tell you now that I have lost nothing less than N40, 000."

Mr Michael Olayiwola, a snooker game owner who also sells drinks, said most of his property was destroyed and others carted away. According to him "we don't have rest of mind here. They do this always and we do not know why. Now, not less than N120, 000 worth of my property has been destroyed. We are calling on the federal government to interfere in this matter.

"This is the only means through which we feed ourselves and our families"

Another shop owner, Mr Olagbemi Kayode, said: "It is not as if we don't pay for this place. We pay for space. We pay nothing less that N20, 000 for a space here. We also pay N1, 500 every month for using the space that is already sold to us. We want the government to have mercy on us. This is the only means through which we feed our families"

Meanwhile, the Managing Director of Lagos State Waterfront and Tourism Development Corporation (LSWTDC), Prince Adesegun Oniru, told journalists that "the exercise was done to sanitise the beach so that it will return to its past glory. There is no way the beach can offer Nigerians and holidaymakers opportunity to enjoy themselves with the presence of hoodlums and women of easy virtue who patronise the traders in their huts" Majority of the traders, he also said were illegal occupants whose presence can no longer be tolerated.

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