Otodo-gbame: Eclipsing the Poor to Accommodate the Rich

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The ruins of Otodo Gbame

By Immanuel Anyanwu-Ibe

…for little Helen Avonda, her life indicts the human conscience, making one guilty by association with a reckless humanity. Her bereavement is ours by the guilt of that association and one hopes she finds a lifeline ahead… The future is homelessness and floating on a rickety boat.

Helen Avonda is not popular, for instant recognition. She is a little girl of about 10, with a sprightly spirit who, perhaps having no understanding of the chaos around her, was found running around with her peers in playful abandon. Her father had died in the ensuing fracas during the demolition of the Otodo-Gbame riverine community in Eti-Osa local government area of Lagos State.

Her father, Elijah Avonda, was among the fatalities largely under-reported in the story of the sacking of that community by government bulldozers. On March 17, 2017, the…

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