At least five residents of Makoko community have lost their lives in an invasion by some "land grabbers", with the support of the Police and officials of the Lagos State Task Force team.
According to a resident of the community, who spoke with our SaharaReporters, the land grabbers had been trying to seize some parts of the community but were resisted by members of the community.
Not relenting to give up on their act, the land grabbers connived with some officials of the Nigeria Police Force and Lagos State Task Force team who stormed the community and launched a vicious attack on the people.
"Those land grabbers were here yesterday and we stopped them from damaging anything. They went to reinforce and came back today," he said.
"We were shocked when we saw the land grabbers were escorted by police officers and some task force. The police were led by Seun Ijaya and one officer Lekan from Panti Police station, Yaba.”
He further revealed that of the five who were dead, the leader of the police team, Seun, shot a resident while the land grabbers macheted four others.
Another resident of the community said that while entering the community, the land grabbers attacked a church and vandalized the church properties.
“They first went to the Acts of Apostles Church at Ori-Oke, destroyed property of the church and attacked church members who were having morning service. After that, they moved into the community where many houses were demolished, properties vandalized and people were killed in cold blood," he said.
The community residents said they were pained because there was nothing they could do about it since the land grabbers had the support of the state government.
Reacting to the attack, a human rights lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, lamented the invasion, faulting some government operatives for having interest in taking possession of the land. He revealed that there was a court judgment that ruled in favour of the people.
“The case of Ori-Oke was started and won in court, many years ago, by Chief Gani Fawehinmi, SAN, SAM, but certain forces with government support, are bent on taking over the land by force," Adegboruwa said.
He urged Akinwunmi Ambode, Governor of the state, to call the task force to order as land case should not lead to bloodshed when the law can be used as settlement instrument.
“I appeal to His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, to please help intervene to call the Task Force to order," he said. "We cannot resort to self-help when there are processes stipulated by law for the resolution and determination of all land matters. I don’t think any human blood should be spilled on account of land grabbing.”
However, when contacted, Saheed Olayinka Egbeyemi, Chairman of the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation and Special Offences Unit (Task Force), denied knowledge of the involvement of any task force team in an attack on Makoko residents.
Chike Oti, Public Relations Officer of the Police in Lagos said he was in a meeting when he was contacted by SaharaReporters, but he promised feedback when out of the meeting.