Monday, 24 February 2014

Widows Protest at Governor Fashola’s Office Due to Poverty

Scores of widows today stormed the Lagos State Governor’s Office, Alausa in Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria to protest the demolition of their shops by officials of the Kick Against Indiscipline, KAI and the Lagos State Task-force on Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit.

The widows carried placards, calling on Governor Babatunde Fashola to come to their aid as they had been plunged into poverty and penury since the demolition of their means of livelihood.

Some of the placards read: “Our shops have been destroyed with no hope of relocating us to another place,” “We love our governor, show us that you care about our plight,” “The death of our husband is enough pain, don’t add hunger,” and “KAI has dumped our children in the cell, please, release them.”

Protesting widows in Lagos
Protesting widows in Lagos

The widows, under the aegis of Widows for Peace International, WFPI, said that the most recent demolition of shops at Suru Alaba Market led by the task-force had inflicted further hardship to the plight of many widows whose only livelihood has been destroyed.

Spokesperson of the widows and President WFPI, Mrs Chinwe Dike said the task force boss, Bayo Sulaiman led the demolition, saying that he also led the demolition of their shops at NAPEX Shopping Complex in Victoria Island where many traders, many of whom were widows were displaced.

“Till today, no alternative shops had been allocated to them. They were also not compensated for their losses arising from inhuman exercise meted out to them by the agencies of the state government. The constant harassment, castigation, and destruction of wares of widows by Lagos State operatives have become a major concern.

“It is not only an abuse of our rights to earn legitimate living but also antithetical to a harmonious co-existence, peace and development. We demand that all shop owners who were displaced and their shop destroyed, especially the widows should be compensated and shops allocated to them at reasonably cost without hesitation,” she said.

She also demanded that more than 1,000 children who had been unjustly by KAI officials and currently languishing in detention be released with immediate effect and that “their confiscated wares be released to them and that all forms of harassment of widows should stop henceforth.

“Widows for Peace International appeals to Governor Babatunde Fashola to restrain the state operatives from further harassment and intimidation of widows and to stop treating us as foreigners in our own country. We acknowledge the efforts of the Lagos State Government to make Lagos a mega city but that should be done with a human face.

“It will be recalled that the same over-zealous agents of the state government last year rounded up persons suspected to be of Igbo extraction and dumped them at Onitsha head bridge in spite of their constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of movement. We ask the governor to use his good office to check the excesses of his agents as enough is enough,” she stated.

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