Amnesty International has condemned the recent forced evictions of some Lagos residents.
In its statement on Tuesday, Amnesty International described the forced eviction as “a violation of human rights.”
Read the full statement by Isa Sanusi, the spokesperson of Amnesty International Nigeria, below.
Nigeria: Authorities must end violent forced evictions in Lagos
The Nigerian authorities must immediately halt the violent and unlawful evictions that rendered thousands of residents of Tarkwa Bay, a waterfront community in Lagos homeless, said Amnesty International Nigeria today.
On January 21, at about 8 a.m., personnel of the Nigerian Navy resorted to assault and shooting during the evictions at Tarkwa Bay. The authorities continued with the forced evictions the next day, in what appears to be a brazen disregard for the safety and security of the affected people, as well as their right to housing among other human rights. There is chaos in Tarkwa Bay, with some residents reporting that many children are missing.
“What is happening at Tarkwa Bay, Lagos is a violation of human rights. It is unacceptable that the Nigerian government are evicting people in the most violent manner and destroying their homes without genuine consultations, adequate notice, alternative accommodation or access to remedies,” said Osai Ojigho, Director Amnesty International Nigeria.
“The attacks on poor communities of Lagos must end. Throwing many families into endless misery is not the best way of addressing allegations of crime and urban planning failures of the authorities. We call for a halt to ongoing forced evictions.”
Spate of unlawful evictions have been going on in Lagos since last year. In November 2019, nearly 1500 residents of Second Badagry community in Lagos were forcibly evicted. Similarly, on January 4, 2020, about 3000 residents of Okun Glass Village, Ilaase were violently evicted by personnel of the Nigerian Navy. In defense, the government sited pipeline vandalization as justification for the forced evictions.
Several other informal communities in Lagos State live with perpetual threats of forced evictions. Many residents lament how forced evictions throw them and their families into destitution.
“Nigeria’s international human rights obligations require the government to respect the right to adequate housing including by refraining from forced evictions. Both the Lagos State and federal governments have a duty to respect, protect, fulfil and promote the right to adequate housing of everyone,” said Osai Ojigho.
“The Lagos State and federal governments must immediately halt the attacks on the waterfront communities and establish a moratorium on mass evictions until there are regulations in place to ensure that evictions comply with international human rights standards.”
Amnesty International is urging the Lagos State authorities and the federal government to urgently set up an independent and impartial inquiry into all cases of mass evictions in Lagos State and prosecute all those, including government agents, found to be responsible for human rights violations and crimes committed during the evictions; and the excessive use of force.
“Authorities must stop hiding behind concerns around pipeline vandalization or other crimes to deprive poor people of housing in Lagos. Governments must ensure that no one is rendered homeless or vulnerable to the violation of human rights as a result of evictions. Also, relevant government agencies must be mandated to consider all feasible alternatives to evictions in genuine consultation with all people affected.”