The report was jointly released by Amnesty International and Social Economic Rights Action Centre (SERAC).
About 9,000 people lost their homes or livelihood in the forced eviction and demolition of Badia East by the Lagos State Government in February, a report by Amnesty International and Social Economic Rights Action Centre (SERAC) has revealed.
Satellite evidence obtained from the groups before and after the demolition show “a densely populated area containing concrete houses and other structures was razed to the ground.” The satellite evidence made opposed the claim by the state government that the area was a rubbish dump.
A survey by community members with the support of SERAC estimates at least 266 structures that served as homes and businesses were completely destroyed, affecting an estimated 2,237 households, the report said.
“The effects of February’s forced eviction have been devastating for the Badia East community where dozens are still sleeping out in the open or under a nearby bridge exposed to rain, mosquitoes and at risk of physical attack,” said Oluwatosin Popoola, Amnesty International’s Nigeria researcher.
The report says the impact of the demolition was devastating on the inhabitants of the community, many now dependent on relatives for their livelihood and exposed to malaria and other ailments due to their sleeping in the open.
The organisations called on the Lagos State Government to provide alternative shelter and compensation for those affected by the exercise.
“The government must immediately provide effective remedies for the violations it has committed and provide all those affected with adequate alternative housing and compensation,” said Felix Morka, executive director of SERAC.
Residents say the government did not notify them before the demolition. Many of them had no time to salvage their belongings before their houses were pulled down.
The organisations says conflicting statements by government officials about the state of the community before the demolition was carried out give credence to the claims of the inhabitants
“The Lagos State Government has given completely contradictory accounts of the eviction. While the Lagos State Attorney-General acknowledged that people had been evicted when the area had been cleared, the Lagos State Commissioner for Housing told Amnesty International in a meeting that the area cleared during the demolition contained no houses and was just a rubbish dump,” the report noted.
The organisations warn that if the government goes ahead with its plan to demolish the entire Badia East neighbourhood for “re-development”, tens of thousands will be affected.
“The Lagos state government has failed to comply with national and international law. It is high time that the Lagos state government and the Nigerian government stop forced evictions and enact legal safeguards that apply to all evictions,” said Mr. Popoola.
The report recommended that a moratorium be placed on mass eviction until legislation to protect people from forced eviction is adopted.
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