16th December, 2013
More than 500 buildings were destroyed this morning at Polome Village/Community, Mowo Phase II Badagry, Lagos State, western Nigeria, on the orders of the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar.
Over 200 armed policemen and seven bulldozers took part in the operation which was aimed at reclaiming the land said to belong to the police from trespassers. The operation was led by A.C.P. Osu Ekpo.
Majority of the affected house owners who spoke with P.M.NEWS admitted that the land was sold to them by land speculators some years ago, adding that they did not have C of O over the land.
P.M.NEWS gathered that the Nigeria Police acquired the 65 hectares of land about seven years ago to build houses for senior police officers and got the C of O from the state government in 2008.
But land speculators started encroaching on the land when the authorities failed to do something on it.
A police source disclosed that when the police discovered the encroachment, they issued a quit notice to the owners of the houses to vacate the land in 2011. The last notice was served to them two weeks ago.
P.M.NEWS gathered that the Inspector General of Police ordered his men to demolish the houses on the land when the illegal occupants refused to heed the notice to quit.
Some occupants of the houses were caught unawares as they did not expect the police to strike. Many of them could not retrieve their properties while a few others were able to salvage a few of their belongings. Women and children wailed during the exercise.
One of the affected landlords, Mr. Waheed Yakubu, said the police issued them eviction letter on 14 December. He said he built his houses nine years ago but that he did not obtain the C of O from the state government.
He called on the government to come to their aid as they have nowhere to go.
Some of them were seen hurriedly packing their loads to prevent them from being destroyed by the bulldozers.