With an estimated 10,000 structures and 100,000 residents, Otodo-gbame is temporarily registered in August 2015 as a community development area (CDA) under Ward A in Eti-Osa Local Government Area. As with most informal communities within the Lagos state metropolis, Otodo-gbame is populated by a rich tribal mix of residents from among the Egun, Yoruba, Ibo, and Hausa tribes among others. The Baale and a Seriki jointly administer the community traditionally, and head the West and East sections of the community respectively. An executive body comprising youth leaders and other executive members, assist the traditional rulers in their community-wide administrative obligations.
The Egun group, occupying the West end, make up approximately two-third (2/3) of the entire Otodo-Gbame residents. The West end shares borders with the peninsula and an adjoining settlement. The Egun’s occupation of the area dates back to 200 years. The East section is a newly-developed area within the community, inhabited mostly by other tribes who are termed ‘tenants’ of the Egun (original settlers). The majority of the inhabitants engage in fishing, sale of sand and petty trading on a variety of local goods.
Deep-seated tribal tensions are commonplace in multicultural settlements of this nature. However, the motive for the ruthless destruction of the West and East sections between November 9-13, 2016, are still very unclear. Eye-witnesses told Spaces for Change that a tribal clash had ensued the day before, which led to the burning of a few structures. On the invitation of the community leaders, police officers from Jakande/Ilasan Station in Eti-Osa LGA, swooped in on the community, arresting several persons, including Baale Dansu Humkpe (who is still in detention as at of November 30, 2016). According to community sources, the elderly Baale’s was arrested and charged for inciting violence and the procurement of weapons (machetes etc). Rather than quelling what was originally a minor fracas, more armed men suspected to be thugs, with the full backing of heavily-armed policemen from the Jakande Police Station in Ilasan invaded the community, torching homes, business premises, schools, worship centers and everything in sight. As houses and valuable properties raged under the inferno, the police officers from Jakande/Ilasan Police Station shot sporadically into the thin air, scaring away distraught residents who sought to salvage the remnants of their belongings.
The attack on the community continued till the 13th of November 2016. See what is left of Otodo-gbame three weeks later: