Hundreds of Ayagologo waterfront residents in Rivers States took to the streets on Friday lamenting that they had been rendered homeless by the demolition of their houses.
The protesters, who marched along NTA road stopped at AIT Port Harcourt Station to express their grievances over the demolition of their homes by the state government.
With some of the placards reading, ‘Together, we shall stop eviction’, ‘We are law abiding citizens, not criminals’, ‘Stop forced eviction’, and ‘Forced eviction, never again’, the protesters nowhere to go to.
One of the leaders of the protesters, Mr. Nengi Success, who is also of the Justice and Empowerment Initiative, said their homes were demolished without any alternative place given to them.
Success said, “We are representatives of the waterfront communities in Rivers State and we are protesting the recent demolition of the Ayagologo waterfront by the government. You can see the crowd here, they are all homeless.
“Forced eviction did not start in the state today. We have seen forced eviction during the demolition on Eagle Island between 2004/2005, Njemanze Waterfront (2009), Abonnema Wharf (2012), Andoni Waterfront and Redeemed Village (2016) and Ayagologo Waterfront (2017).”
He argued that rather than embark on the demolition of waterfront, the state government should upgrade the place, which had served as their homes for many decades.
“Most of the prominent men, who later saw themselves in government, were former occupants of waterfronts; why would they enter government and begin to think of demolishing the waterfronts,” Success queried.
Also, one of the protesters, who identified herself as Queen Owaje, appealed to the state government to find an alternative place for them, adding that their children had stopped going to school due to the demolition.
“They say it is because of crime that they demolish waterfronts, but has the series of demolitions since 2004 stopped crime? The demolition of Ayagologo waterfront has rendered us homeless and our children cannot even go to school again because of the situation,” Owaje lamented.