A coalition of Civil Society Organizations, Rethinking Cities, has declared its readiness to support the incoming administration in Lagos State if it is aimed at developing the citizens and not developing the city at the expense of the citizens. The coalition also gave an assurance that it would be ready to oppose government policies that undermine the right to decent shelter and work of the citizens.
This was contained in a press statement signed by the convener of the coalition, Deji AKinpelu after unveiling the coalition during a press conference in Lagos recently. The Focus of the coalition is with a campaign theme of ‘DON’T GET ELECTED, TO GET US EVICTED’, which is aimed at advocating to all political candidates, regardless of who the winner would be, to halt attacks on poor communities who are being punished for the state’s urban planning failures and to commit to stopping unfair and forced evictions.
Speaking at the press conference, Akinpelu noted that the anti – poor attitude of the previous and present Lagos State government is deeply inconsistent with a true commitment to building a resilient and inclusive city. He buttressed that, “over the past years we have been engaging the government with all our goodwill and faith in a dialogue on climate resilient and inclusive urban planning. After all these years, government still lacks several of the essential qualities for building a resilient city – it is not reflective, resourceful, flexible, nor inclusive – and we believe it has demonstrated no intention to imbibe these qualities.
“The activities of the Fashola and Ambode administrations are still very fresh in our minds. Their ban on street trading, and demolitions as well as willful, unconscionable evictions of thousands still leave sour tastes in our mouths. The disasters of Otodo Gbame, Ilubirin, Ebute Ikate, water front communities which led to tens of thousands of families being rendered homeless, as well as countless deaths at the hands of security personnel and subsequent induced health related issues must not be allowed to happen again.”
Akinpelu also added that the coalition is calling on all political candidates in Lagos “to make known their agenda for informal settlements and workplaces in Lagos State whose activities creates significant job opportunities in Lagos.”
For his part, Gbenga Komolafe, the General Secretary of the Federation of Informal Workers, FIWON, said it is important that our politicians acknowledge the important role the informal sector serves in building the economy of Lagos state from transportation to housing to the retail sector. Politicians should refrain from implementing actions such as forced evictions and demolitions that are detrimental to the informal sector’s ability to operate effectively and productively.
The group also called on the Lagos State government to work towards the attainment of Sustainable Developmet Goals 8 and 11 which are; Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economy growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all SDG and Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
The coalition consists of Federation of Informal Workers of Nigeria (FIWON); Nigeria Slum/Informal Settlements Federation; Justice Empowerment Initiative (JEI); Enough Is Enough; Civic Hive; Rethinking Cities; Lagos Urban Network; CEE-HOPE Nigeria; Justice Development and Peace Centre (JDPC); Community Life Project and Women Radio, WFM 91.7.