One Person Killed As Lagos Govt Demolishes Shanties In Agege
One of the residents of Oko Oba Abattoir, Agege, Lagos State, identified simply as Usman, was buried amidst tears.
Usman, said to be a scavenger, was allegedly killed when Lagos State Task Force officials, with their caterpillars, went to the Abattoir community to carry out a demolition exercise on Saturday.
Over 500 shanties and illegal structures were demolished.
The illegal structures believed to be occupied by criminals and miscreants were destroyed by the state government as part of efforts to ensure adequate upgrading and transformation of the area.
It was gathered that dangerous weapons were recovered from the shanties by the joint task force comprising Lagos Task Force on Environment and Special Offences, staff of Ministry of Environment, Depart-ment of State Services, DSS, Operation MESA, Police, and officials of Nigeria Railway Corporation.
However, the affected people denied that weapons were recovered from the shanties
A friend of the deceased, who gave his name as Muritala, said: “We’re not troublemakers!
"We don’t have anywhere to go; that was why we couldn’t leave the railway line since they asked us. Now, one of us has been killed.
"The deceased was planning to send some baby clothes and other things he bought for his wife, when he was killed.
"His wife was just delivered of a baby. Now, we don’t know what to tell the wife and his parents in the North.
"We’re not just at the railway line doing our business; we always settle railway policemen and Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) men and OPMESA.
"These policemen are the ones that had been assuring us that nothing would happen to us; that nobody would send us away."
A witness said: "Usman was sleeping in his makeshift house, when the caterpillar, during the demolition exercise along the railway line, crushed the makeshift home, killing him in the process."
Basheer Hussaini, said: "We were all working, when we saw task force officials.
"They appeared to have emerged from nowhere and started chasing us. We all tried to pick what we could and run away. We stood afar and watched as they demolished the shanties.
"I’m surprised that the deceased didn’t know that the demolition exercise had commenced.
"Immediately the caterpillar got to the deceased’s makeshift home, we shouted to alert them that someone was sleeping but they didn’t listen to us.
"Before we knew what was happening, the caterpillar had killed him, where he was sleeping.
"Blood was gushing out from the makeshift where the deceased was sleeping. The caterpillar and task force officials immediately left the scene."
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“It was after the policemen had left the scene that was when we were able to move close to the scene. We wanted to rush him to the hospital, but we realised that he was already dead.”
The Chief Public Affairs Officer of the Lagos State Task Force, Adebayo Taofeek, expressed surprise that anyone died during the demolition exercise. He said: “The effort of the government was to clear the whole area that had been messed up.