Community leaders, women and the youth in Makoko area of Lagos have urged the Lagos government to halt plans to dredge the Lagos lagoon in view of the displacement and livelihood loss it will cause.
The residents, majorly fisherfolks, made their position known at an engagement with media and civil society held in Lagos on Friday March 3, 2023 on the auspices of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF)
Elder Claudius Akintimehin from the community said that dredging and sand-filling make them vulnerable to flooding, even as he appealed to the Lagos government to consider their livelihood derived from fishing which is now suffering.
Akintimehin lamented that women in the community make a living from fish processing, drying and selling are now jobless.
Evangelist Dosunga Isaac, added: “I was born in Makoko over 70 years ago. When people are saying dredging, they don’t know the impact. We have seven canals that empty into the Lagoon. If they sand-fill that place, nobody can stay at Yaba.
He explained that where the state government has already sand-fill used to be where he fishes and gets his daily bread.
“I’m no longer able to fish there. So, please, they should help us beg the government to let us be. And we always voted APC because they are the ruling party, and yet they don’t want us to survive,” he said.
Earlier, Nnimmo Bassey, Director of HOMEF said that the decision to dredge the lagoon was hastily taken without consultation with locals.
Bassey stressed that the sand-filling of wetlands around Makoko means exposing the community to flooding.
Executive director of the Centre for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection (CEE-HOPE), Betty Abah, also insisted that the dredging and sand filling carried out by the Lagos government is an existential threat to Makoko and its people.
Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) director of programmes, Philip Jakpor frowned that the ministry in charge of waterfront has unfortunately become a ministry associated with forceful acquisition of lands and eviction of people from their historical lands.
According to Jakpor, “Makoko residents have spoken and their voices are clear. It is a resounding no to.the dredging exercise”