Environmentalist Recommends Restraint On Dredging Of Makoko Waterfront

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Makoko waterfront in Lagos State, South-West Nigeria.

The Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Mr. Nnimmo Bassey, has recommended restraint on the dredging of Makoko waterfront in Lagos State, South-West Nigeria.

Bassey in a statement issued on Thursday in Benin, the Edo State capital, South-South Nigeria, by the Media/Communication Lead of the foundation, Kome Odhomor, urged the Lagos State Government as well as the contractors to stop the dredging and listen to the residents.

According to him, there is need for the government to have open conversations with the people who have deep knowledge of the environment and have made massive economic contributions to the state.

The environmentalist noted the idea of using development as a foil for grabbing waterfronts, displacing and destroying the lives and cultures of the people must be halted.

Bassey asserted: “Makoko and other underserved communities in Lagos and elsewhere in Nigeria, deserve to be upgraded with adequate supply of social services and not displaced for the benefit of land speculators and other forces of accumulation by dispossession.”

He recalled that, in recent years, demolition threats have hung heavily over the community; hence the people feared that what happened in Maroko in 1990, which had 300,000 persons displaced and many lives lost, may be visited on them.

In 2012, according to him, the Lagos State Government demolished parts of Makoko community after purportedly giving them only 72 hours’ notice.

He regretted that less-serviced communities in Lagos have faced similar fates with human rights abuses and deaths trailing such assaults.

“Otodo Gbame suffered same fate on April 9, 2017, when the community woke up to see that it was surrounded by heavily armed policemen as their homes were destroyed and burnt.

“A more recent demolition happened in Monkey Village, also in Lagos.

“HOMEF believes that flood prone cities such as Lagos should cease the acts of so-called land reclamation as such activities worsen the crisis and reduce the city’s climate change resilience.

“Wetlands must remain wetlands and people who have kept such ecosystem balances should be supported and not criminalised or victimised,” said the HOMEF Director.

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