Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola said yesterday that only 14 rehabilitated persons picked from the streets and not 67 as reported were returned to their state of origin in Anambra State. Fashola, who made the clarification during a visit of Aka Ikenga, Igbo community in Lagos to his office in Alausa, Ikeja said what happened was indeed a very small matter that has been exaggerated to score cheap political gain.
He explained that there was correspondence between the Lagos State Government and the liaison office of the Anambra State Government in Lagos on the 9th of April, 2013 from the Special Adviser on Youths and Sports, Mr. Enitan Badaru to the office on integration and a reply from the liaison office to the Lagos State Government on 15th requesting specific information which he said was provided in another letter to the liaison office on 29th of April adding that when they failed to respond to the last letter, the state government was forced to act since the state was expending resources on feeding.
He acknowledged that may be the state could have waited a little longer and apologised if the decision had inflicted pains on the Igbo in Lagos. Fashola explained that it is wrong for Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State to say that he was not informed adding that it is either he was being mischievous or was not properly informed by the liaison office which exchanged correspondence with the state government.
Fashola felt sad that the governor who had called him personally on minor issues this time opted to go to the press on a matter that could have been settled. “If the governor had called, we could have sought out things”, he said, adding that what happened was not new, and displayed a similar letter he received from Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Godswill Akpabio on two persons who claimed to be from Lagos State.
“We took them in but they are not from Lagos and we are looking through the South West”, Fashola said adding that such issues ought to have been treated on merit without ethnic or religious coloration which he said engenders sentiments in people.
Speaking on comments from some constitutional lawyers the governor said that rights guaranteed by the constitution are not absolute. “If you want to live in my house, you must live according to the law by not constituting nuisance. If you become a nuisance, I have a duty to protect myself”, he said and advised experts to moderate their comments.
Earlier, President of Aka Ikenga, Mr. Godwin Uwazurike said Igbo in Lagos have always supported the government and will continue to be loyal but that they were put under pressure following alleged deportation of 67 Igbo from Lagos State.
Another member of the team, Mr. Ben Aka told the governor that his group is now finding it difficult to convince Igbo in the state and indeed Anambra to support the All Progressive Congress (APC) with Anambra election around the corner. He said the opposition is already catching in on the development to make political gains.