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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Save Ajah!

This is a save our soul appeal to the Federal Government of Nigeria to rise up to its constitutional duty of protection of its citizens living in Ajah Town Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos against a warlord who has been terrorising the law abiding citizens for over five years with the active connivance of the Lagos State government.

The warlord has burnt down over 50 shops along NEPA Road and around the Akinyemi Shopping Complex in Ajah. These burnt down property were shown by a number of Television House but to date neither the Lagos State nor the Federal Government has deemed it fit to make a pronouncement on the matter. This is not a surprise as a commission of inquiry set up specifically on Ajah communal crises submitted its report about a year ago without any Government White Paper on it.

A looming cloud is imminent now as the warlord has promised to burn down the Ajah Ultra Modern Market as a prelude to the burning down of the town itself during the elections (April 14 and 21, 2007), taking advantage of the period when there will be no movement of vehicles. The warlord carried out such dastardly acts in the past and he got away with them, as such many people have already been moving out of Ajah Town enmasse, since they have no confidence in the police or security agencies as presently constituted.

Indeed, save for a handful of ill-equipped policemen at the Ajah junction, there is no police presence in the town and the recurrent violence has not shown the state and federal authorities the need for a robust police or military presence on a permanent basis. The question is, how can an individual hold a community of over 300,000 people to ransom, killing, maiming, burning and destroying valuable property with impunity in a country like Nigeria?

Nigeria spends millions if not billions of naira on peace-keeping operations in the past in Sierra Leone and Liberia and is currently involved in Darfur, Sudan and is even contemplating going to Somalia, but here in Ajah, Lagos there is genocide going on and thousands of people are being displaced and hundreds have been killed without any protection from the state or federal government. Usually the police will come with a show of bravado after the destruction and killings.

The question once again is: who will protect Ajah Town against the warlord? The citizens await the answer from the Federal Government of Nigeria now before it is too late!

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