On Tuesday, the 21st of January, personnel of the Nigerian Navy raided Tarkwa Bay, an artificially sheltered beach in Lagos, acting on orders from the Lagos state government, to forcefully eject residents of the island. According to affected residents, they weren’t given any prior notice.
According to reports, the Naval personnel assaulted and shot at residents in the process of the forceful eviction. Word from concerned Lagosians volunteering help, says some children are missing from their families as a result of the displacement.
The government in response to outcry from human rights societies, considering that forceful eviction is a violation of the right to dignity, gave cases of pipeline vandalisation as reason for this move. Tarkwa Bay’s raid will bring forceful evictions of Lagos beach slums to twenty-four, since December, 2019.
Tarkwa Bay is that beach which we have all come to know and love for its super affordable gate fee and easy tides even a non-swimmer can surf in. Without these now displaced residents, such an experience would not have been possible.
Now the people of the bay – fishermen, food vendors, traders, who double as fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, all breadwinners, have been displaced. They’ve been rendered homeless and without a means of income in an alarming display of inhumanity and utter capitalist ruthlessness.
Surprisingly, the act itself doesn’t seem to have riled many. The fact that this is the twenty fourth time is perhaps even more shocking as this signals a veritable sum of destitute people in already bedlam Lagos.
Terribly overpopulated, rife with crime cases and a staggering security lack of security; Lagos to put it lightly, is ranked as one of the most unsafe places in the world to live in.
It’s a new decade, we all have progressive plans, the general populace is more than ever, geared to make a better life for themselves. Currently displaced Tarkwa Bay residents are no different I’m sure.
Now pray tell, in light of this current unprecedented displacement, what will the affected parties do? It definitely doesn’t take a soothsayer to foresee a spike in crime rates in the city. A spike which security agencies are definitely not going to be capable of dealing with as they already have their hands full.
So, first of all, we as a people, should all on behalf of the displaced be angry. Angry because this is a progressive, democratic society and such blatant disregard of humanity should not be overlooked. Angry because such acts will serve no other purpose than to further unravel the fabric within which our barely sane society is wrapped in.
We should not only be angry but also worried because now it is not a farfetched thought to imagine waking up without a roof over your head. We never can tell, one day, the government might wake up and decide some houses are located on prime property and choose to get it for themselves. And our houses could just be located on that property.
Furthermore, we should be scared. Scared because the tottering state of security has been shoved farther towards the edge and any moment from now, it could come crashing down.
So yes, we should be fifty shades of concerned and not let this concern start and end with a disapproving shake of the head and a well-meaning remark. Instead we should all come together to help the people of Tarkwa Bay by providing relief materials while also ensuring that the government rectifies the issue.