Magodo: I live on the Estate but had no intention of going to that part of Lagos that night. Suddenly, I saw a video on the Estate ‘Whats App’ group and it was a lady calling on everybody to come out and block the gates that the Police were invading the Estate with over 100 policemen. As it is with me in these kinds of situations, I used to run in the opposite direction. This country has taught us so many lessons that if you fly headlong into some of these engagements you will have only yourself to blame. It is only a panel of inquiry used to compensate retired cronies in the judiciary that will be set up and who will seat to a predestined determination.
Anyways, when the dust cleared, some facts started emerging. A group of Nigerians had been kicked off their land by the government allegedly. They had been told that the land which is today Magodo Estate Phase II was to be used for the public good but was now turned into the highbrow residential enclave it is today with people very close to the government taking up plots and building some of the most magnificent houses in the country. The people went to court as free-born Nigerians to demand their rights. We have seen different versions of the journey through the courts. But what could be gleaned is that the plaintiffs have earned some sort of victory across all three levels of the judiciary up to the supreme court. But getting an execution of whatever has been the judgment remains elusive as successive administrations within the state have reportedly used all sorts of legalese and underhand tactics to either delay or attempt to scuttle the judgment.
In frustration, the plaintive have gone to the centre to get structures that would enable them to execute judgment and this was repelled with them standing a chance of getting their actions criminalised. Well in various discussions on the estate ‘Whatsapp’ group, you begin to see the inability of most residents to be objective in their analysis for very obvious reasons but as you leave the estate residents and begin to engage legal experts who are non-aligned you begin to see the evil of arbitrariness. If there is anything I fear in this world it is arbitrariness. The fact that someone can just wake up one morning and render you homeless just like that and you will be so powerless to do anything about it. Where do you run to if you were on the other side?
Like I tell my colleagues on the estate WhatsApp group. Today we are beneficiaries of this arbitrariness – if proven, tomorrow might be our turn to be kicked out of that same house due to either a change in government or a policy turnaround and at that point what do we do? Institutions of this country really need to be urgently strengthened. We have to run away from the politics of demigods. That night, as the bulldozers made their way towards the estate, calls were obviously made and the movement was halted. That is arbitrariness and personification of state power at play.
Imagine if this was Shomolu, who would you call? Who would you run to? You can be sure that by morning the whole place would have been reduced to a rumble with millions rendered homeless.
The cats who live in Magodo and indeed all over the country must be sleeping with their eyes wide open because we have all murdered sleep and that is the fact. The only way we can sleep well at night is when we encourage the strengthening of the rule of law and the structures of the state. So that the rights of all citizens can be protected, freedoms can be assured for the betterment of society. Today it is Shangisha Landlords Association, tomorrow it will definitely be the turn of Magodo Resident Association all we need is just an unfriendly face at Alausa and that is all. Do you see why we need to pull back and look at the institutional framework of this country?
Website Designing/Management/Social Media – Iyanu Victor
We are all doomed if something is not done very urgently. Scary.