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2m Nigerians forcibly evicted in the last five years

Posted by By Adeyeye Joseph on 2006/10/04 | Views: 369 |

2m Nigerians forcibly evicted in the last five years


Over two million people were forcefully evicted from their homes and office structures in Nigeria in the last five years, results of a new study carried out by Amnesty International and Geneva, Switzerland based Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions say.

Over two million people were forcefully evicted from their homes and office structures in Nigeria in the last five years, results of a new study carried out by Amnesty International and Geneva, Switzerland based Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions say.

Nigeria, Equitorial Guinea and Zimbabwe are cited in a new Amnesty International study for forcibly evicting large numbers of people

The two organisations published their findings in this month’s edition of Amnesty International’s magazine, The Wire. The release coincides with activities marking the World Habitat Day and the International Tenants’ Day. The International Union of Tenants marks the Tenants’ Day on the same day that the UN marks the Habitat Day on the first Monday in October.

The study focused on case studies drawn from Nigeria, Equitorial Guinea and Zimbabwe, where the organisations say that forced evictions have reached ‘epidemic levels’. It says forced evictions are commonplace in Nigeria and the rights of the victims are often trampled upon.

The study says, “Since the turn of the century, more than two million people across Nigeria have been forcibly evicted from their homes. Not only have they been made homeless, but many have been beaten, arbitrarily arrested and left without adequate food, clean water or sanitation.

“Nigeria is a party to international human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, prohibiting forced evictions. The UN Commission on Human Rights has recognized the practice as a grave violation of a range of human rights, particularly the right to adequate housing. Yet Nigeria continues to ignore its duty under international law.”

The organisations say hundreds of evicted Nigerians are still sleeping out in the open more than a year after their homes were demolished. They say officials who carry out demolition often set fire to the buildings to ensure that they are not rebuilt.

The study says, “In April 2005, bulldozers and armed police descended on the Makoko community of Lagos, obliterating large parts of the community in three days. Homes, churches, a mosque and a medical clinic were all destroyed. About 3,000 residents, many already destitute, were left homeless.

“Eyewitnesses told AI how, after razing concrete and iron-sheet houses to the ground, officials set fire to what remained, thus ensuring that materials could not be re-used to rebuild homes.”

The study adds that demolitions sometimes result from government’s desire to re-allocate lands to developers to make more money.

“Makoko is situated next to a large bridge, one of Lagos’ main transportation throughways. Its convenient location makes it an attractive proposition for property developers, and has substantially increased its value. It is Makoko’s poorest who must pay the heaviest price for this,” the organisation says.

In Nigeria, however, both officials of the Federal Government and state governments that have undertaken forceful evictions have said that they did so because buildings were erected on drainages and other unauthorised locations.

The report stresses that forced evictions are a violation of international law but that governments justify them on the grounds that they are essential for the development of infrastructure or in preparation for international events. “The tragic outcome in most of these cases is that the poorest and most vulnerable members of society are placed at even a greater risk. Across Africa, hundreds of thousands of people each year are forcibly evicted. They are removed from their homes without notice or compensation and in many cases are left homeless, stripped of their possessions. Often, they are displaced far from sources of clean water, food, sanitation, livelihood or education,” the study says.

The authors say forced evictions are particularly common in Africa. They say, “In Sudan, approximately 1,800,000 people, driven from their homes by prolonged conflict, face forced eviction from camps around the capital, Khartoum. They are often left on barren land in the desert.

“In Ghana, hundreds of residents from the Dudzorme Island (in the Digya National Park) were forcibly evicted from their homes in 2006. On 8 April, some victims were reportedly forced into an overloaded ferry, which subsequently capsized, leaving around 30 people dead according to official sources, while many may never be accounted for.

“In the last year in Kenya, tens of thousands of people, including indigenous peoples, were violently evicted from forests with no resettlement arrangement. Many informal settlements in the capital, Nairobi, have been subject to intermittent demolitions. However, Kenya is adopting guidelines to prevent and remedy forced evictions. Forced evictions in Angola’s capital, Luanda, since 2001 have left thousands of people homeless when their homes were destroyed. Police and security guards have shot at, beaten and kicked residents, including pregnant women, and arrested those who tried to resist the evictions.”

The organisations call on the African Commission to adopt a resolution condemning widespread forced evictions in Africa and to call on African governments to acknowledge that adequate housing is a human right, and to publicly commit to an immediate halt to forced evictions.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.