A documentary by the Centre for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection, CEE-HOPE, sponsored by the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, has revealed how children suffered untold hardship and deprivation in the aftermath of massive demolition of houses and shops by the Lagos State Government.
Demolitions in Lagos waterfront communities inhabited by the poor had led to the displacement of tens of thousands of people, including children.
The documentary opened with the sad tale of a woman at Badia East who went into forced labour when her home was demolished in 2013. She later gave birth to triplets in a hospital but lost the babies few weeks after.
The untimely death of her babies and the trauma caused by the demolition of her home affected her mental stability and she’s today a ghost of her former self.
“Today, she still lives among the debris of Badia East, four years after. She still gropes aimlessly at the site of the demolition…. a mentally sick woman, a childless destitute…hopeless,” says the documentary.
The documentary points out that the policy of “Operation Clean Lagos” by the state government to build a mega city has killed and displaced children whose only crime were being born by poor parents.
“About 100 Lagos waterfront communities are being targeted for demolition and with no plans of compensation, relocation or relief whatsoever for the people affected or those to be affected, as guaranteed by local and international laws.
“Children in these communities have unspoken stories of terror inflicted by a government which should protect them, their dreams and help them realise their future.”
Watch the documentary below.
The latest in this wanton demolition was on April 9, 2017, when Otodo-Gbame, a fishing community, was levelled with about 32,000 people being displaced.
The documentary reveals that during a violent eviction in the middle of the night in November 2016 by policemen, not less than 12 persons, including children were reportedly drowned in the lagoon when they attempted to escape the mid-night violence.
The documentary describes the effect of the demolition thus: “children, future leaders, dying, being crushed socially, economically, psychologically and educationally under the sledge hammer of the recurrent demolition exercises in Lagos State under detached and elitist politicians and government officials.”
Unfortunately the children affected by the demolitions are denied education as they are thrown to the streets without measures by the state government to protect them.
The documentary urges Lagos Government to stop shattering the dreams of children born in poor homes as the dehumanising effect of forceful eviction will affect their adult lives.