By Daniel Edu
Joshua Vandi, a 36-year-old man, is mourning the loss of his pregnant wife, Ladi, and he firmly believes that the demolition of their apartment on 33, Odunfa Street in Oworonshoki, Lagos, played a significant role in her tragic death at Afolabi Memorial Hospital on Oworo Road.
Vandi recounted that following the demolition, he and his wife were forced to relocate to an apartment on Oluwaseun Street in the same area, which someone kindly provided for them. It was after this harrowing incident that his 33-year-old wife’s health began to deteriorate, ultimately leading to her untimely demise. The trauma of the eviction, coupled with the loss of her livelihood, had taken an immense toll on her.
“After the demolition at Odunfa in Oworonshoki, they (the task force) burned down all our houses, and her business was lost. Since then, we’ve been homeless and struggling. She never recovered from that shock since then,” lamented Vandi.
He went on to explain the sequence of events that led to his wife’s passing, saying, “On Wednesday, her blood pressure was so high, and sadly, the baby inside her had died. The doctor couldn’t operate on her due to her elevated BP. This was because, after learning of the baby’s demise, she cried inconsolably. On Thursday morning, she passed away, and as I am speaking to you, her body is at the mortuary in Yaba.”
Vandi’s current living conditions are dire, with his makeshift shelter exposed to the elements. He described the harsh conditions, stating, “I’m still living in danger. The room I am in has an open roof. Last week, when it rained, water filled everywhere, and my wife was in the water. I had to scoop the water out until I was exhausted. It’s a dire situation, and our children are suffering too.”
He firmly believes that the demolition was the root cause of his wife’s deteriorating health and ultimate demise. Their previous home, which was demolished, had been a self-contained wooden structure. Vandi described the aftermath of the demolition, saying, “The demolition is the cause of what happened to my wife. She was doing business at that place before the demolition. Everything was scattered, and her condition was so terrible that I could not even look her in the face sometimes.”
This tragic incident occurred following the demolition carried out in July by the Lagos state task force in the Oworonshoki area, rendering numerous residents, including children and women, homeless. Streets such as Oke-Eri, Oluwaseyi community, Cornerstone, Ogo-Oluwa, and others were affected.
In response to these claims, Gboyega Akosile, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, stated that the state government’s objective was to remove shanties and criminal hideouts in the area rather than demolish people’s homes. He emphasized that the government’s duty is to ensure the safety of both the people and the environment.