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Forced Eviction by Lagos State in Nigeria

“The police said if we went back into the house they were going to shoot us.”

Friday Ogunyemi woke up on Saturday 23 February 2013 oblivious to the fact that he and his family would be made homeless that morning and would have to spend the night in the open street at the mercy of the elements.

That day, officials of the Lagos State government began forcibly evicting Friday’s community of Badia East, a vibrant informal settlement of around 150,000 people in the heart of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital. Lagos has over 10 million inhabitants – most of whom are constantly struggling for adequate housing. With an ever-increasing population, a decent place to live has become a luxury for Lagos’s poor majority.

Chasing people out of their homes

“I was chased out of my house with my 5-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son. The police said if we went back into the house they were going to shoot us. My kids were the only ones I could carry, leaving all my belongings behind. My wife was not around; she had gone to the market to buy some cleaning products. By the time she returned our house had been demolished; it was the first house to be demolished in the area”, added Friday.

Friday’s plight is similar to that of hundreds of families who have been made homeless as a result of the demolition of Badia East. Friday and his community were not given the opportunity for genuine consultation about the planned demolition. They were not aware a demolition was going to take place. The Lagos State government has not provided the affected people with alternative housing, compensation, or relief materials. Hundreds of residents with no where to go now sleep in the open streets protecting the few belongings they have left.

At the expense of the poor
The victims of the forced eviction in Badia East say they feel let down by the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, who they claim they voted for overwhelmingly at the last general elections in 2011. The Lagos State government has shown a callous disregard for the residents of Badia East by forcibly evicting them without providing alternative accommodation or emergency relief including access to food, shelter, water, sanitation and healthcare services.

This is an edited version of a longer article by Oluwatosin Popoola, Amnesty’s West Africa Reseacher available here.

Take action

While the demolitions have halted for the time being, Amnesty believes that they might continue imminently. Please email Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola telling him to halt this large-scale human rights abuse here

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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