By Paul Iyoghojie
Maroko residents who were evicted by the then Military Governor of lagos State, Colonel Raji Rasaki, on 14 July 1990, and who are currently squatting at Jakande Estates in Lekki, Ikota and Epe areas of Lagos on Tuesday marked 30 years of their bitter experience.
Speaking during a virtual press briefing in compliance with the COVID-19 protocols at their Jakande, Lekki Secretariat, Chairman of the Maroko Evictees, Alhaji Chief Olakorede Jegede, said the evictees decided to mark the eviction date to remind the public of their plight.
He said the then Military Governor Rasaki conspired with federal government and some elites to “recklessly invade Maroko and demolish their properties.
He said the over 300 displaced residents were tortured and brutalized by the invading force of the state.
Jegede added that the military government displaced them and took over the land of their ancestors.
According to him, the residents are out again to remind Nigerian government and the World that Maroko evictees are still struggling to get justice from the inhuman and barbaric treatment meted to them 30 years ago.
“On the fateful day of 14 July, 1990 at about 9 a.m all entrances leading to Maroko community were under siege by fully armed soldiers and mobile policemen who invaded the place with bulldozers to unjustly demolish our houses and displace over 300 residents without prior notice.
“During the illegal operations which lasted for about 14 days, some of our wives and daughters were not spared as they were raped while some of our parents were murdered in cold blood.
“The adverse effects of the demolition and displacement brought untold hardship to our distraught people and our economic means of livelihood became ruined.
“The persistent public outcry by local and international human right activists and organisations compelled the government to compensate us and we were eventually resettled at uncompleted government estates in Ilasan, Ikota and Epe.
“But sadly, these estates were not fit for human living.
“Although we were resettled at Jakande, Ikota and Epe and issued allocation papers, government has for the past 30 years deliberately deprived the estates, which have now been taken over by flood, of basic amenities and infrastructure”, he said.
He reiterated his people’ s resolve to continue the struggle to get justice, saying “we are not going to rest on our oars until we secure the needed justice from the Federal and the Lagos State Government.
“We are appealing to the President and Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, and the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu to come to our aid and renovate the dilapidated Ilasan and Epe structures for us to live a normal life again”, he concluded.
Other participants at the briefing were Mr. Benson Oketola and Comrade Andrew Oretan, Secretary and Youth Leaders of the Maroko Evictees.