A nursing mother, Maoteen Yisa; her baby, Atamah Braimah; and a 10-year-old boy, Paulsu Akiyah, who were fleeing from Lagos officials in Ilubirin-Oju Olokun, a riverine community on Lagos Island, Lagos State, reportedly got drowned on Thursday.
The nursing mother and her kids, were fleeing from officials of the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit had invaded the community, destroying residents’ makeshift structures, as they chased them away from the area.
The boat conveying the deceased and other members of the community out the area, after the Lagos officials attack capsized. While seven people reportedly swam to safety, the three were unaccounted for. However Punch reported that their corpses floated on Saturday and were recovered by their family members.
Confirming the attack, the traditional leader of the community, Simenu Peter, said the attack started three weeks earlier when some policemen attacked the residents.
“Three weeks ago, the policemen came around 9am and said we should vacate our community. They said we were hoodlums and we said no. I told them that we were fishermen.
“Later in the night, the policemen showed up again and beat up two people who were sleeping. One of them is still in a critical condition. Property, including sacks of foodstuffs, of the residents, was taken away.
“Four days ago, the task force officials came and chased residents again. That was around 11pm. While some of them were running away in a boat, they had an accident. There were 10 of them in the boat; seven survived, but three died.”
Dolphin Divisional Police Officer and Area A Commander were informed of the first “unprovoked” attack on the community, according to an official of the Centre for the Defence of Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, Maurice Fangnon. He further disclosed that the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, was also alerted to the incident, adding that the police leadership did nothing about it.