22 December 2011

Nigeria: Two Die as Soldiers go on Demolition Spree in Lagos

Lagos — Two residents of Sonibare Peace Estate, Iba, Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State, said to be pensioners have died, since officers of the Nigerian Army started demolishing houses in the estate. The two pensioners, whose houses were affected, were said to have died on Sunday and yesterday morning.

While one, a 67-year- old man was said to have died last Sunday, the other pensioner, said to be in his early 70s, reportedly fainted Tuesday night, but was revived. By Wednesday morning, when the officers continued, he was said to have given up the ghost.

The army had stopped the demolition on Saturday following protests by the residents, but yesterday, the officers returned to the estate, with more armed men and two bulldozers to continue from where they stopped days earlier.

No fewer than 80 residents of the estate had on Saturday blocked LASU-Iba-Isheri Expressway for over three hours between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m, in protest against the demolition of their houses by the officersfrom the Ojo barracks.

Trouble, it was gathered, started two days earlier, when army officers from the barracks came to the estate and started beating residents, marking houses and telling occupants to pack out within 24 hours. On inquiries, leaders of the estate were told that a two-year-old son of an officer was kidnapped from the barracks about three weeks ago and had not been seen since then.

A week after the boy was kidnapped, a five-year-old daughter of another officer was kidnapped from the barracks, but was found few days later with some body parts missing. The estate leaders told Vanguard that the army had accused residents of the estate of being responsible for the kidnap of the children.

When Vanguard visited the estate, yesterday, no fewer than 100 houses had been brought down by the army bulldozers. Families were seen moving their belongings out of their homes before the arrival of the bull dozers. Most of the families, who were confused, complained that they had no where to lay their heads for the night.

When Vanguard contacted one Colonel Amaka, said to be the Commandant of the barracks, he said he was on the road and had not reached the barracks. He added that he could not comment on the issue, directing our correspondent to speak with officials of the army Heaadquarters in Abuja.

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