Latest Urgent Action: Nigeria

THOUSANDS FORCIBLY EVICTED IN PORT HARCOURT

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Thousands of people in Abonnema Wharf have been forcibly evicted from their homes and many are in urgent need of emergency housing and relief services after the Rivers State authorities demolished their homes in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

After five days of demolitions in Abonnema Wharf waterfront in Port Harcourt, thousands of people have been forcibly evicted and many left homeless by the demolitions of the Rivers State authorities in Nigeria. Many people are being forced to sleep outside on the street, in cars or shelter in nearby churches, and are vulnerable to further human rights violations. Many residents did not know their homes would be demolished until the bulldozers arrived. They were not given time to collect their belongings and many people lost everything. Initial statements by the Rivers State government (RSG) suggested only those buildings implicated in gang shootouts earlier in June would be demolished; consequently, many people living in other areas of the community did not think their houses would be effected and did not attempt to pack their belongings until it was too late. However, the demolitions continued until the entire community was razed. Residents were not offered any alternative housing or even emergency shelter. The demolitions were carried out during rainy season when the weather conditions are bad and it’s difficult for people to move easily around to find shelter.

The exact number of people who were living in Abonnema Wharf is not known, as no survey has been carried out, but in 2009 it was estimated by UN Habitat (Evictions and Demolitions in Port Harcourt, Fact Finding Mission Report, March 2009) to be more than 30,000 people. It is reported that many people had left the community since 2009. According to one estimate, between 10,000 and 20,000 have been forcibly evicted. There are indications that the government is planning further demolitions in the waterfronts.

 

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1st update UA 184/12, 3 July 2012
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