The Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, has said the demolitions of properties embarked on by state governments are heaping extra hardship on poor Nigerians.
He stated that the government needs to show empathy for the people they govern, adding that the timing is wrong given the harsh economic conditions Nigerians are currently facing.
Obi made this statement on his X (formerly Twitter) handle on Thursday, insisting that the government needs to come up with measures to alleviate people’s hardship, not add to them.
- “It’s with complete despondency and unhappiness that I have followed the ongoing demolitions of properties across the country, especially knowing the extra hardship such acts have been heaping on hapless citizens who are already battling with multi-dimensional poverty.
- “What a responsive government should be doing under the current harsh economic conditions in the country is to come up with measures aimed at alleviating the people’s hardships and to carry out measures that will take more people out of poverty.
- “Even if there are some violations as the governments are claiming, this critical time is not auspicious for such an exercise knowing the hardship in the land and the consequences it will have on the poor who are struggling to make ends meet with their little resources,” he said.
In addition, the former Anambra governor therefore appealed to the state governors to put a human face to their actions while enforcing ’sensible’ regulations.
He noted that some of the properties that are demolished are built with the life savings of retirees and the elderly in the country.
- “The poor in our midst who are putting their meager resources are going through very severe financial stress that should not be multiplied further. In some cases, the properties being demolished are the lifetime savings and retirement abodes of the aged and incapacitated.
- “My appeal therefore is for the respective governments involved in this act to consider the hardship in the country and try and put a human face to their actions. While we should enforce sensible regulations, all actions of government must show compassion,”, he added.
Some states in Nigeria, particularly Lagos, have embarked on the demolition of various buildings and properties which they believe violate “state laws.”
However, there has been an outcry from affected residents as many believed the move might be politically motivated.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources in Lagos, Tokunbo Wahab, said more properties would be pulled down for contravening the drainage law.
Structures in areas like Lekki, Alaba Market, Ajao Estate, Abule Egba, and Ladipo Market, among others have been pulled down in recent weeks.
Speaking on Wednesday on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television programme, Oluyinka Olumide, the Lagos commissioner for physical planning and urban development, said the demolished structures were hastily completed during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020.
Olumide asked the owners of the affected structures in the Ikota, Lekki, Alaba, Ajao Estate, Abule Ado, Ladipo market and other areas of the state to provide their building approvals.
- “We will not demolish any approved building, that is for sure. So, if there is anybody that has claims that their buildings were approved and demolished, let them come forward,” Olumide said.