350 Shanties Burnt, 1,000 Displaced in Lagos Clash

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  • Police rescue two-day-old baby

Gboyega Akinsanmi

At least, 350 shanties were wednesday burnt to ashes in a communal conflict between Yoruba speaking and Egun speaking residents of Otodogbami area of Ikate, Lekki Phase 1 area of Lagos.

A Rapid Response Squad (RRS) official confirmed the conflict, noting that about 1000 residents of the community were displaced.

The official explained that the conflict, which erupted on Monday and became violent on Wednesday, was triggered by claims of supremacy over the landed area between the Egun people; mostly indigenes of Benin Republic and the Yoruba people in the community.

The official explained that the conflict culminate in burning of at least 350 houses and 1,000 residents displaced in the community.

He acknowledged that a team of anti-riot security operatives had been deployed to the community to restore peace and re-establish public order.

In a statement it issued last night, however, the Lagos State Police Command claimed that its prompt intervention led to the rescue of a two-day old baby and restoration of public order in the community.

The statement, which was signed by the command’s Public Relation Officer, Mrs. Dolapo Badmos, explained that the police immediately moved into the area to prevent further breakdown of law and order.

The statement said there “is an Egun community mainly made up of people from Republic of Benin. They actually occupy illegal shanties. We were alerted about the breakdown of law and order in the area and immediately went to check Otodogbami community, Ikate Lekki Phase 1, where there is a fight between the Benin- Yoruba communities fighting over the supremacy in the territory.

“It’s an illegal settlement area, most of the structures there are shanties and because of a protracted dispute between themselves, they set fire on their different shanties.

“The police moved into the area to restore peace and in the process of checking the area, we discovered that there was a woman who was trapped in one of the shanties with a two-day-old baby who would have been burnt in the process.”

It said the state government “has taken over the area while the State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development would move in to demolish the remaining shanties and clear the rubbles caused by the inferno.

“The police is alive to its responsibility of ensuring the safety of lives and property of its citizenry and would not hesitate to carry out the necessary action where the need arises,” the statement said.

The police, therefore, urged both conflict parties in the community “to remain lawful and shun acts of violence that could trigger civil unrest.”