Lagos govt’s ‘forced evictions’ must stop — Amnesty International

akinwunmi ambode
Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode

Human rights group, Amnesty International, has condemned the recent wave of evictions of residents of waterfront communities by the Lagos State government.

In a statement on Monday, the group noted that the latest forced eviction of residents of Otodo Gbame community was carried out despite an ongoing legal suit and mediation process.

“Over 30,000 thousand residents of Otodo Gbame, Ilubirin and Ebute Ikate waterfront communities in Lagos State were forcibly evicted by Lagos State authorities on 9 and 10 November 2016 respectively,” Amnesty International noted in the statement.

Officials of the Lagos State government environmental task force and armed police officers on March 17 began a fresh demolition of houses and destruction of properties at Otodo Gbame, a fishing settlement on the edge of Lagos lagoon, ignoring a court ruling against the forceful eviction of residents.

The Lagos State government denied flouting a court order, insisting it acted to ensure public health and safety.

The recent demolitions came months after a similar exercise by the state government destroyed about 800 homes and rendered almost 10,000 people homeless.

Amnesty International said more than 4,700 people lost their homes and livelihoods during the latest forced eviction.

“In September 2015, approximately 10,200 residents of Badia-East community in Ijora area of Lagos were forcibly evicted, and many of them remain homeless and dependent on family and friends. In September 2016, residents of Ilubirin community were also forcibly evicted from their homes without prior notice.

“The state government is yet to provide any compensation or resettlement to evictees from these demolitions. The Lagos State authorities stated that the forced evictions and demolitions in the waterfront communities is because of the environmental risks these waterfront communities. Over 40 communities and tens of thousands of residents are currently at risk of imminent eviction across the state.

“Nigeria is a party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and other international and regional human rights treaties, which require it to realize the right to adequate housing, and to prevent and refrain from carrying out forced evictions.”

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