Letter: Don’t relocate Adeniji-Adele residents without appropriate arrangements, Natives tell Sanwo-Olu

Expressing concerns, informed by past experiences where such government policies had led to displacement of indigenes from their ancestral land without anywhere to go to, the group, which is not averse to modernization, wanted a situation where the “relocation and reconstruction” plan is redesigned as “temporary relocation and reconstruction” plan to mean that, after demolition and reconstruction, the people will be returned to their allocated modernized homes at no cost whatsoever.

“We want to know how and where you are relocating the people to and the nature of the relocation you plan to do. Otherwise, many indigenes are seeing what you are doing as an effort to displace them from their land whereas they have no other place to go.

“In view of the above, De Renaissance Patriots Foundation resolved to inform you that nobody should relocate anybody until there is a place to take them to, which must be on a temporary relocation basis within Lagos Island AND THEN in the end, ensure that the temporarily relocated people are truly returned to the newly reconstructed properties.”

According to a letter titled “THE RELOCATION AND RECONSTRUCTION OF LAGOS ISLAND COMMUNITY”, dated Monday 20, 2024 and signed by the Foundation’s President, Prince Adelani Adeniji-Adele, and Secretary General, Mr. Yomi Tokosi, De Renaissance Patriots said the decision to put their concerns in writing to the governor was taken at an emergency meeting held on Sunday May 12, 2024.

At the meeting the letter said, “we resolved to write you as a registered advocacy group representing the interest of indigenes of Lagos State and Lagos Island in particular in this particular instance. Specifically, we refer to the recent statements credited to your Special Adviser on E-GIS, Dr. Olatunji Babajide, on your decisions in various regards, the most important is your decision to move and relocate residents of ADENIJI ADELE HOUSING SCHEME as you deem appropriate.”

In the letter addressed to the Governor Sanwo-Olu and couriered to him directly with receipt acknowledged on Wednesday May 22, 2024, the Lagos Natives group said, “We believe that most of those that will be affected by these actions are indigenes of the state, specifically Lagos State. As an advocacy group, our concern is piqued to ensure that this will not be another avenue to effect dramatic changes that will, in effect, see indigenes displaced and become minorities in this area.

“Therefore, it will be in the interest of the state government and all indigenous groups, most especially De Renaissance Patriots Foundation, to be involved in this exercise and to make the exercise as transparent as possible.”

De Renaissance, addressing Sanwo-Olu, said: “Mr Governor, in our reading from the release of Dr Babajide especially when he mentioned waterlogged areas, it behoves on us to look at the larger picture of things in the Lagos Island area.

“As Africans, it is said that “land is as important to man as it is to trees” and our songs also do have meanings. This particular one is relevant; Ayinde Barrister was wise in his days when he sang: “Oyinbo wo Oluwole Eko o wi nkan. Won feso won gba Marina. Won lawon ma wo Isale Eko. Won se bi kurumo ni wa”.

“To every indigene of the state, this song has profound meaning and they will do all in their ability to defend their indigenous rights to their land and we will be in the forefront to ensure that their rights are protected.

“Sir, we suspect systemic demographic changes intended or “genocide by immigration”. If it is true, indigenes will quarrel with you and see this as a deliberate attempt to oust them from their homestead.

“Our concern is just a reaction from what your operative gave as an excuse on the Adeniji-Adele issue. He quoted waterlogging as an issue as we interpreted it as a problem of drainage and that will bring up a lot of issues that you must address for the benefit of our people. The following highlights are germane and your reaction will be equally incidental to the intentions of your government and in some areas a character attestation.

“In our discourse so far, the reference of waterlogging by your side is worrisome in the following: 1. We know for a fact that flooding and waterlogging is a big issue in the agos Island and we further want to know what is exactly wrong with our drainage system in Lagos Island especially in areas of ldunmagbo and surrounding areas.

“2. It will also be nice to know the effects of the Ilubirin housing estates and the dredging arising therefrom. A LOOK AT THE IMPACT ASSESSMENT REPORT WILL BE BENEFICIAL TO OUR PEOPLE.

“3. In the same vein, we ask the state government to inform the public what its intention is about the fact that Lagos Island is now under the sea level. Meaning Lagos is sinking, a lot of it has to do with indiscriminate dredging.

“4. That since development of lubirin is the effect on the drainage system of Lagos Island, it is safe to inform Your Excellency that bringing the issue of waterlogging by your government as reason adduced for carrying out this requires a clarification. 5. Is becoming KURUNMO getting real?

“6. We want to know how and where you are relocating the people to and the nature of the relocation you plan to do. Otherwise, many indigenes are seeing what you are doing as an effort to displace them from their land whereas they have no other place to go.”