Nigeria, Lagos govts. must explain forced eviction of Otodo Gbame residents – UN

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The United Nations Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Leilani Farha, on Thursday demanded an explanation from both the Lagos and Nigerian government over the forced eviction last week of inhabitants of Otodo Gbame, a waterfront slum community on the edge of the Lagos lagoon.

Almost 30,000 people were rendered homeless, according to the Justice and Empowerment Initiative, a non-governmental organization that had worked extensively with the community people.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing is a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context.

“It has been brought to my attention that the evictions may have involved the extreme use of force and fire by the Nigerian police force and Lagos State Government, leaving individuals and families scrambling in the middle of the night to find safety and shelter,” said Ms. Farha.

“The mass displacement and reports of four deaths are deeply disturbing.”

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the eviction came despite a court order suspending planned demolition of communities along creeks and waterways.

At least seven people died in an ensuing melee after government-owned bulldozers and armed police officers who shot sporadically into the air invaded the community in the early hours of November 9.

The police said it was restoring order after a “crisis that resulted from a violent confrontation between the Egun-speaking part and the Yoruba-speaking part” of the community.

img-20161115-wa0019But the people of Otodo Gbame denied the claim, saying the purported crisis was part of a grand design to force them out of their lands.

In an “urgent communication” from Geneva, Ms. Farha asked the Nigerian government for information on the evictions, the methods used and their compliance with international human rights law.

She also questioned whether the community was given adequate notice or alternative accommodation, as required by international law.

“What makes these evictions particularly concerning is that they were carried out in blatant disregard of a court order and have completely ignored international human rights guidelines on forced evictions,” the UN Special Rapporteur said.

“International law is clear: there must be consultation with the affected community, all alternative options to eviction must be explored, and a resettlement plan must be in place should the evictions be carried out,” she noted.

“Under no circumstances should force or fire be used.”

The people affected, from the Egun and other ethnic minority populations, with no other options, lived in poor-quality homes along creeks and other waterfronts.

“It takes many years to build a home, a community, and a sense of trust with government, but only days to destroy it. It is truly unfortunate that so many people are left with literally nothing but memories of their former lives and questions about their human rights,” Ms. Farha said.


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  • Galantman

    Lagos state is caught between the deep blue sea and the devil. Forced demolition of citizens abode is inhuman, but the worsening security situation characterized by robberies kidnap etc for drastic to protect the majority. A moderate approach could have solved the problem. Let’s have a human heart please.

  • blow fissh

    This destruction occurred barely a day after a Lagos court ordered the state government to immediately suspend its planned demolition of shanties along creeks and waterways in the state.

    It also came one week after the state House of Assembly appealed to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to reconsider the planned demolition

    Eko o ni baje?

    • musa aliyu

      But iit a constitutional right to protect life and property? It was done in their favor after all. For how long had fire been used to evict helpless Nigerians? Ask the Port Harcourt Mile 1 market traders. In Lagos several markets were so treated. It is wrong, anyway but we don’t need an oyinbo to tell us bullshit after all they helped in pauperising us, and empowering the elites, making them.monsters.

      • Harry

        I hope your properties (if you have any) are destroyed in the guise of protecting life and other properties.

        • musa aliyu

          I don’t need any government to tell me what is right. I’ll never jeopardize my life building by the edge of canals, when available land abound. Your prayer therefore is misdirected.

  • George

    Tinubu and Ambode simply want more lands to expand their hotels businesses, trust that location is very much good for such expansion.

    Tinubu and Ambode will never have peace

  • Michael

    Ambode came into government promising a more restrained approach to law enforcement by Lastma etc etc but over the past few weeks he has shown a harsh and uncaring side removing not just those on the waterfront but lots of traders and even those selling flowers that is so common in Lagos. These poor people are simply removed without any alternative means of making a living. Watch this space but this Ambode might turn out to be one of the most ruthless governors we’ve had. He’s totally out of his depth and needs a kick up the backside but this is what happens when Tinubu hand picks the governor. We end up with thugs like Ambode.

  • okenwa

    Un is useless, what did they say when shiitte muslims and ipob were killed by the same nigeria govt.

  • Lagos is being turned into slum by igbo-biafra’s, long live Ambode.

    igbo-biafra must GO!