Posers over death at PDP rally in Mushin

• Group seeks investigation, as Jimi Agbaje denies knowledge of incident
By Tope Templer Olaiya
Confusions have continued to trail the death of a 39-year-old commercial bus driver and father of three, Adesoji Adeboye, after he was allegedly hit by a gun shot on Monday, August 25, 2014 at Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s rally held in Mushin, Lagos.
But a member of the deceased’s family, Mrs. Shade Afolabi, said they (family) were aggrieved that some respected people are not being truthful about what really happened.
She said: “Though supporters are claiming that he (Adeboye) was shot in Mushin but I don’t understand why someone who was shot in Mushin would be taken to Ketu for treatment where he finally died.
“It is even unfortunate that no one from the party has deemed it fit to visit the family, particularly his aged mother and wife.”
According to her, on the day of the incident, Adeboye was called by his boss, Mr. Kunle Oduyale, to go and convey some party members said to be Agbaje’s supporters from the Lagos end of the old toll gate, opposite Motorways Plaza at about 6am to a political rally scheduled to be held in Epe.
“When he was called, they said the rally would take place in Epe but I don’t know why it was held in Mushin. Later in the evening, his (Adeboye’s) bloodstained bus was spotted at the tollgate and he laid in a pool of blood beside the bus close to FERMA yard.”

Jimi-Agbaje

Jimi Agbaje

In another account, some relatives of the deceased said Adeboye was shot in the leg during a local government tour by a PDP governorship aspirant, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, in the Mushin area of the state.
In yet another rumour, it was speculated that Jimi Agbaje was attacked by some suspected thugs loyal to other aspirants.
Chairman of the party in Mushin local council, Tunde Fabiyi, while confirming the incident of Adeboye’s death to The Guardian, said the bullet that hit one of Agbaje’s supporters was from the rifle of one of the policemen attached to the politician, who wanted to scare thugs away from his boss.
“Yes, it was true a PDP supporter was shot, but the way it happened was not as it is being painted by the social media. What really happened was that Agbaje was besieged by some young men, who wanted to collect money from him after the rally but in a bid to disperse the crowd, a shot was fired by one of Agbaje’s security operatives, which incidentally hit one of those who came with the politician,” he said.
A revised account of the incident was immediately released in a statement by a group of professional entertainers leading the agitation for Jimi Agbaje, with the name ‘For New Lagos’ (#4NL).
According to the statement signed by the group’s media secretary, Femi Branch, the Mushin tour was one of the most peaceful ever undertaken by Agbaje and the people of Mushin showed him (Agbaje) so much love and a wonderful reception.
“The incident that happened was a result of an accidental discharge from a gun held by one of the team’s own security operatives, who shot himself in the foot while trying to board their vehicle to depart from the venue. Mushin loves Jimi Agbaje and can’t wait to receive him again when he comes visiting.”

Shelle

Tunji Shelle, Lagos PDP Chairman

However, the governorship aspirant, who is at the centre of the confusion surrounding the incident, has denied being attacked in Mushin and also denied any knowledge of an alleged shooting of Adeboye at the rally.
According to him, contrary to rumours that thugs invaded the rally and he was attacked and almost shot, nothing of such happened in Mushin or in any other local governments he has toured. He added that everywhere he went, mammoth crowds received him and his entourage with warmth, love and jubilation.
However, an Executive Director of a concerned group –– Centre for Rights and Grassroots Initiative –– Mr. Nelson Ekujumi, has petitioned the state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye, urging him, the state’s Ministry of Justice and the Commissioner of Police to investigate the murder of Adesoji Adeboye by suspected supporters of Agbaje.

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Ijora Badia… Amnesty International indicts Lagos govt, World Bank over compensation of evictees

By Tope Templer Olaiya,
Assistant Lagos City Editor
AN eighty-page report recently released by Amnesty International has accused the Lagos State government of violation of human right in the demolition of over 200 structures and displacement of over 2,000 people in Ijora Badia.
The Amnesty International office last week expressed disagreement with the compensation package approved for Lagos State by the World Bank for people forcibly evicted from the informal settlement. The body in a report titled: “At The Mercy Of Government,” said the World Bank wrongly endorsed a compensation process that was not consistent with international human rights standards or the bank’s own policy.
“It is an outrage that a community, left destitute by the actions of the Lagos State government, has been denied an effective remedy by the same government and that the World Bank has been complicit in this matter,” said Audrey Gaughran, Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International.
She added that Badia East was chosen to benefit from a World Bank-funded project, which aimed to increase access to basic services such as drainage, through investment in infrastructure. “However, the demolition of at least 266 structures that served as homes and businesses took place without genuine consultation or adequate and reasonable notice and with no remedy for the loss suffered.

Badia 1“In Badia East, none of the legal and procedural safeguards that are required under international human rights law and standards in relation to evictions was observed. There was no genuine consultation with the affected people to identify alternatives to eviction. The government failed to provide adequate notice, legal remedies, alternative housing for those unable to provide for themselves or compensation for the loss of property.
“After mounting pressure, the state government, in collaboration with the World Bank, agreed to develop and implement a retrospective Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) for the Badia East residents in line with the World Bank’s Policy on Involuntary Resettlement. However, both the content of the RAP and the process by which it was prepared contravened international human rights standards and World Bank policy.”
According to Gaughran, while the RAP was supposed to accommodate provision of options for adequate alternative housing or relocation to other sites; ensure that affected people were offered the support needed to restore their livelihoods and standard of living; ensure adequate compensation was given to those affected, instead only financial assistance of amounts unilaterally determined by the government and considered inadequate by affected people was offered.
Amnesty International is a global movement of more than three million supporters, members and activists in more than 150 countries, who campaign vigorously to end grave abuses of human rights around the world.
This latest report has called on the state government to act immediately to ensure all those forcibly evicted from Badia East are adequately compensated for their losses and those who cannot provide homes for themselves are provided with adequate alternative housing.
It also urges the World Bank to strengthen its safeguard policies to prevent the abuse of its funded projects and its policies to commit or facilitate human rights violations.

Badia 4Describing the Lagos State government’s compensation as “inadequate”, Amnesty International noted that the slum dwellers of Ijora-Badia, whose homes were bulldozed on February 23, 2013, did not get compensations commensurate to their losses. She, therefore, insisted that destitute victims of forced eviction must be adequately compensated.
Despite the state’s lofty dreams of making Lagos a mage city, the body had in the wake of the demolition last year, stated that about 75 per cent of Lagosians live in slums.
The body’s Nigerian researcher, Mr. Oluwatosin Popoola, had noted that government’s failure to respect the rights of Badia residents had resulted in hardship for most residents of the state, while forced evictions, aimed at bringing order to the chaotic and crowded metropolis which is home to about 15 million people, had cost around 9,000 people their homes or livelihoods in the last 18 months.
“The effects of February’s forced eviction have been devastating for the Badia East community, where dozens are still sleeping out in the open or under a nearby bridge exposed to rain, mosquitos and at risk of physical attack,” the report stated.
“The Lagos State government has violated the right to adequate housing of the residents of Badia East by failing to put in place any of the legal safeguards required under the international law, prior to evicting thousands of the residents. The demolition has devastating consequences on the lives of the evictees. This is one eviction too many, all in the name of development.
“The Nigerian government has failed the people of Badia by resettling them in the area from Oluwole, where they were in 1973 by the Federal Government without proper documentation. Oluwole area is now home to the National Theatre,” the report stated.

Badia 2While there has been no official response to the Amnesty report, Governor Babatunde Fashola had countered critics of his administration’s Badia eviction, saying that the government’s plan is to solve problems and ensure better living for residents.
“That is why I have committed to build 1,008 flats in Badia, to take people out of living on the refuse heap. That place has been there since I was a child and we have carried on as if nothing happened.
“The easiest thing to do is to take a bull-dozer and bulldoze a slum because governments don’t create slums, it is people who do. Our administration’s plan is to bulldoze away your difficult conditions by providing roads, drainages and primary healthcare centres.”
According to a community representative, “since February 23, the people have nowhere to stay, they sleep outside battling with mosquitoes, malaria and cholera. In the process, many have died, including a pregnant woman, who died few weeks ago.
“Now, our life, our pains and what we went through can never be paid except the roof that was taken over our heads. To make matters worse, we here there is even a reduction to N90,000 compensation from what we formerly agreed on. With that amount, you cannot rent a house in Lagos and pay for a year. Till date, 18 months after, we are yet to get anything from government, not even a relief material.”

Badia 3Badia East is part of the larger Badia community, which is one of nine settlements (slums) that were intended to benefit from the World Bank-funded Lagos Metropolitan Development and Governance Project (LMDGP). The objective of the US$200 million project was “to increase sustainable access to basic urban services through investments in critical infrastructure.
The infrastructure component of the project (estimated at US$160.89 million) included urban upgrading activities in “nine of the largest slums identified in 1995” in Lagos State, along with drainage and solid waste management projects.
Though the area of land from which people were forcibly evicted has been earmarked by the Lagos State Ministry of Housing for a housing development project, The LagosHOMS project did not form part of the activities under the LMDGP.
The state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ade Ipaye laid the blame on the doorsteps of the displaced citizens.
He said: “If anybody says no, I don’t want your assistance, I want proper compensation because my house was destroyed; if that person can show land title, he can show planning permit approved by the Ministry of Physical Planning through the planning office, such a person can make claim for compensation because you have acquired my property which I built legally. But for others, the fee they are rejecting is the financial assistance that government has approved.”

The growing audacity of insanity in Lagos

By Douglas Anele
Some psychologists believe that human beings manifest some level of insanity. That is very true, because every individual experiences strong emotions, which usually precipitate irrational behaviour. Persistent existential deprivations that characterise the human condition in Nigeria right now is particularly conducive to insanity. Last week, on a lovely Monday morning, I went to buy some pre-recorded compact disks at Yaba. It was difficult to find somewhere to park my vehicle because virtually all the parking lots around were full. After driving for about fifteen minutes, I was able to squeeze my jeep behind another vehicle along Montgomery Street. When I came out of the vehicle, I noticed that it extended beyond the white line on the ground.
However, before leaving I made sure it did not obstruct traffic in any way. After purchasing the CDs I wanted, I went back to my vehicle. As I entered, I discovered that the driver’s door would not open properly. I tried to free it from the obstruction by driving backwards a little bit. Moments after, with the engine still running, I tested the CDs one after another to ensure they are okay before leaving.
I looked up when I heard a knock on my window. A man wearing a reddish-brown or maroon coloured uniform (let us call him Mr. A) signalled me to wind down the driver’s window and I complied. He said I have committed an offense by packing my vehicle beyond the white mark on the ground. Politely, I told Mr. A that the engine was running and that my jeep did not obstruct the road at all. As we were arguing, his colleague (Mr. B) joined him, and after a brief exchange between three of us, both men decided that my alleged offence deserved punishment.
Meanwhile Mr. A brought a camera and took a photograph of my jeep. He threatened that if I refuse to comply with their directives, he would bring a tow van to remove the vehicle to their office in Adekunle. To cut a long sad story short, they tricked me into driving to their office. As I drove through the gate and entered a compound that looks like a makeshift garage, a man who called himself Hon. Muyiwa who claimed to be Chairman House Committee on Works approached me. He entered my vehicle and insisted that I must pay a fine of twenty-five thousand naira. I tried to reach an amicable settlement with him because I thought that as a legislator, Muyiwa is likely to be more reasonable than the others are.
However, I was wrong. I pleaded with him that as a university teacher, I would not deliberately disobey traffic rules and regulations, that the so-called offense I committed is insignificant, and that he should use his discretion to let me go. He refused. Instead, he threatened to deflate my tires, recommend that I should go to a designated place for psychiatric examination, and refer my case to “headquarters.”
I felt humiliated and angry. How could a purported member of Lagos State House of Assembly who, judging by the low intellectual quality he displayed while we were arguing, is not even qualified to sit in my Master’s class, be the one to recommend me for psychiatric evaluation? Even after explaining that lecturers are on strike and that it is necessary to conserve funds because the federal government might stop our salaries, Muyiwa “the oga at the top” remained adamant.
At this stage, there was a hot exchange of words between him and me. Muyiwa angrily accused me of disobeying the law, and boasted that he is the leader of a task force established by the state government to apprehend and punish offenders. He ordered a vulcaniser to deflate my front tyres. I was thinking of what to do and wondering why Lagos State government created another outfit to deal with traffic issues when LASTMA is still functioning – then it occurred to me to call Ade Ipaye, a colleague and current Logos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice.
Luckily, he picked my call and his timely intervention saved me from further embarrassment. The entire horrible episode lasted for over one hour. Afterwards, a few friends and colleagues I told my ordeal narrated their own ugly encounters with the same people. It is quite distressing, I must admit. For quite some time now, Lagosians have been complaining bitterly about unwarranted incessant harassment by KAI and LASTMA officials and all sorts of miscreants-in-uniform. But the government has not done anything concrete to address the complaints.
The level of intimidation and embarrassment is unacceptable. People are now afraid to drive their cars because different officials claiming to work for government fabricate excuses to extort money from them. Concerted efforts of the state governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, and his lieutenants to increase the internally generated revenue base of Lagos State are commendable. Nevertheless, must ordinary citizens be harassed, intimated, and oppressed just because government is trying to raise additional funds? Officials of LASTMA, KAI and others constantly cajole, insult, bully, and threaten people in order to extort money from them.
Of course, some of them are nice and reasonable: only the bad ones, the “animals in uniform,” enjoy inflicting pain and suffering on Lagosians. Their uniforms intoxicate them to the extent of megalomania. Given the crude and uncouth manner of KAI and LASTMA officials, qualifications for employing staff for these outfits should be strengthened. In other words, the qualifications must be tightened to minimise the influx of miscreants and undesirable elements into the system.
I believe that politicians create most of these outfits to resettle and create jobs for thugs they used during elections to capture power. But this approach usually boomerangs, with devastating effects on the society, as is evident in the emergence of Niger Delta militant groups and Boko Haram. To repeat; there is an urgent need for thorough overhaul of the employment procedure of KAI, LASTMA and so on.
The reform must include adequate training for those employed to improve their emotional intelligence, appreciation of civilised conduct, and respect for human dignity. It is extremely important that government officials dealing with the public in whatever capacity must learn to treat people with respect, and exercise discretion whenever it is necessary to do so.
The stress of living in Lagos is already very high and health threatening. It is not the business of government under any guise to increase it by empowering all manner of insane people to intimidate and extort money from law-abiding citizens. The insane audacity of miscreants masquerading either as LASTMA, KAI, and task force officials is going out of bounds. We are supposed to be operating a democratic system which requires that government officials no matter the situation must respect the citizens.
I suggest that Governor Fashola should take a hard or critical look at his internal revenue generation strategy and come up with appropriate and effective ways of eliminating the jarring highhandedness of government officials running the system. I hereby express my sincere gratitude to Ade Ipaye for rescuing me from predators-in-uniform. He is a good man indeed!