What caused the Lekki violent clash

What caused the Lekki violent clash

Thursday, November 10, 2016 11:34 am

Ruins after the clash in Lekki Phase 1

Ruins after the clash in Lekki Phase 1

Kazeem Ugbodaga

Violent clash erupted on Wednesday in Lekki area of Lagos, Southwest Nigeria between two communities over a piece of land, with thousands of residents displaced, about 400 structures burnt and a 2-day old baby rescued by the police.

TheNEWS gathered that the crisis began on Monday but snowballed into violent clash on Wednesday morning between two communities in Otodogbami area of Ikate, Lekki Phase 1.

A battle of supremacy in the area had triggered the clash between the Egun speaking community; mostly indigenes of Benin Republic and the Yoruba speaking community resulting in serious fighting and burning of houses.

Irate youths from the two communities set hundreds of structures and shanties ablaze while pandemonium ensued in the area as residents ran helter and skelter to avert being killed.

The rescued baby

The rescued baby

Investigation reveals that some residents fled through the waterways and through every available escape routes.

A resident who craved anonymity accused the police of complicity in the matter, saying that when the police came, they were shooting directly into houses, an action which forced residents to flee through the waterway.

He said eight people reportedly drowned as they were trying to escape through the water on a canoe which capsized in the middle of the river. But the police could not confirm the boat mishap.

Police Public Relation Officer, PPRO, Lagos State Police Command, Dolapo Badmos confirmed the clash, saying that the police immediately moved into the area to prevent further breakdown of law and order.

Giving a background of what transpired, she said: “There is an Egun community mainly made up of people from Republic of Benin. They actually occupy illegal shanties. We were alerted about the breakdown of law and order in the area and immediately went to check Otodogbami community, Ikate Lekki Phase 1, where there is a fight between the Benin- Yoruba communities fighting over the supremacy on the territory.”

“It’s an illegal settlement area, most of the structures there are shanties and because of a protracted dispute between themselves, they set fire on their different shanties. The Police moved into the area to restore peace and in the process of checking the area, we discovered that there was a woman who was trapped in one of the shanties with a two-day old baby who would have been burnt in the process,” she said.

She said the State Government had taken over the area while the State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development would move in to demolish the remaining shanties and clear the rubbles caused by the inferno.

“The Police is alive to its responsibility of ensuring the safety of lives and property of its citizenry and would not hesitate to carry out the necessary action where the need arises,” she said.

Badmos also appealed to both factions in the community to remain lawful and shun acts of violence that could trigger civil unrest.

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