Tears, Grief As Slain Otodo Gbame Residents Are Buried In Badagry
Amidst wailing and calls for justice, the remains of Elijah Avonda and Daniel Aya, who were shot dead when some men wearing uniforms of the Nigerian Police stormed their community were laid on rest on Saturday in their ancestral home in Badadry.
The burial of the two victims came barely two months after Lagos State Government allegedly demolished the community said to have lived in Lekki, Eti-Osa Local Government area for more than 50 years.
The operatives allegedly used unlimited force to evict the residents, before torching their homes with fire.
Aya, 20, died while struggling to save his property from being destroyed.
The father of two was hit in the neck by a stray bullet from the gun of a security operative deployed to enforce the eviction.
Avonda, 42, was also shot dead. He had bullet wounds lodged in his chest from the sporadic shooting.
As early as 7:30am, mourners from far and near had started trooping into the office of the Nigerian Slum/ Informal Settlement Federation office at Herbert Macaulay, Yaba, to convey the corpses to Badadry.
Since they were brutally murdered on April 9, the corpses of Avonda and Aya were deposited at the Military Hospital mortuary, Yaba.
Minutes after arriving the Federation’s office, the corpses were later led by officials and mourners in a long convoy.
The town stood standstill as people trooped out to watch the funeral procession and quietly empathized with the mourners.
After the procession, the emotional mourners then followed the bodies to their final resting places. While Avonda was buried at Owode Apa, Aya was buried in Muwo.
When the ambulance carrying the remains of Avonda entered Apa around 3.45pm, the atmosphere again changed with sympathisers resorting to wailing and weeping.
At every stage of the burial activities, the mourners and sympathisers rained curses on the alleged killers.
Avonda’s wife wept profusely and nearly collapsed at the burial ceremony.
Relatives of the deceased tried to comfort her in vain. Aya was buried around 5pm. Women and men could not hold their tears as the casket containing the body was lowered into the grave.
The government’s action was despite a standing court order by Justice SA Onigbanjo, who ruled that demolitions on short notice without providing alternative shelter for persons evicted constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of Section 34 of the 1999 Constitution.
The court had ordered the parties to attempt mediation through the Lagos State Multi-Door Court House.
The court will deliver its final judgment on the matter on June 21.