News / Africa

Satellites Prove Forced Evictions in Nigeria, Amnesty Says

A section of the Badia East community in Lagos, Nigeria, before the forced eviction on February 23, 2013. (Social and Economic Rights Action Center)
A section of the Badia East community in Lagos, Nigeria, before the forced eviction on February 23, 2013. (Social and Economic Rights Action Center)
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Heather Murdock
Amnesty International says satellite imagery shows 9,000 people have been forcibly evicted from their homes or businesses in a Lagos, Nigeria slum this year. And while residents told the organization that they were forced to leave at gunpoint, the government says the area was a trash dump.
 
It is an old story, and it is not just in Nigeria. Poor people build makeshift homes on empty land. When the land becomes valuable they are forced out. Amnesty International says in February of this year, an area known Badia East in Lagos, Nigeria’s biggest city, was demolished with no warning to residents.  
 
The organization's Meghna Abraham said armed officers accompanied construction crews to the demolition, and they told people “If you love your life, move out.” Many of those people, she said, still are homeless and jobless.  
 
“A lot of them had these small businesses and were self-sufficient in the past, but now have lost their sources of income in addition to their homes so are completely dependent on families or friends to give them even basic necessities - clothing, food,” said Abraham.

A bulldozer demolishes homes in Badia East, Lagos, Nigeria, February 23, 2013. (Social and Economic Rights Action Center (SERAC))A bulldozer demolishes homes in Badia East, Lagos, Nigeria, February 23, 2013. (Social and Economic Rights Action Center (SERAC))
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A bulldozer demolishes homes in Badia East, Lagos, Nigeria, February 23, 2013. (Social and Economic Rights Action Center (SERAC))
A bulldozer demolishes homes in Badia East, Lagos, Nigeria, February 23, 2013. (Social and Economic Rights Action Center (SERAC))
Families, she added, also remain separated by the destruction of the neighborhood. “A lot of people commented on the fact that they have had to send their children away because they have nowhere to keep them while they're homeless. The consequences have been very, very devastating for people.”

She said some government officials told Amnesty the area was a rubbish dump, while others reported there were evictions when the land was cleared to make way for what will be new, mixed-income housing.  
 
Abraham says this is part of a larger pattern in Lagos State, citing forced evictions in 2012 in a fishing village called Mkoko on Lagos Lagoon.  Both Badia East and Mkoko residents are fighting in court to keep their homes.

But not everyone in Lagos state thinks this pattern is a bad thing.  The state government led by Governor Babtunde Fashola has been widely praised for development projects that directly impact the people, like building a railway and fixing roads.

Satellite image taken after the demolition of Oke Ilu-Eri, Badia East, Lagos, Nigeria, April 8, 2013. (DigitalGlobe)Satellite image taken after the demolition of Oke Ilu-Eri, Badia East, Lagos, Nigeria, April 8, 2013. (DigitalGlobe)
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Satellite image taken after the demolition of Oke Ilu-Eri, Badia East, Lagos, Nigeria, April 8, 2013. (DigitalGlobe)
Satellite image taken after the demolition of Oke Ilu-Eri, Badia East, Lagos, Nigeria, April 8, 2013. (DigitalGlobe)
As he waits for a city bus, a marketing executive said tearing down slums, which he calls ‘shantytowns,’ reduces crime and makes Lagos more appealing for tourists. “I think it is a welcome development. I think it is a good idea for the government of the state to destroy shanties and try to develop a new site.”

Amnesty International says Nigeria lacks a legal framework to protect people from forced evictions, which make the evicted residents poorer and more vulnerable. But development officials say destroying slums and replacing them with planned communities is one way they hope to lift Nigeria out of poverty.

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ahmed karim from: nyc
August 13, 2013 6:01 AM
Africa, Africa, Africa ! Old boy . We seem to be experts in doing things the reverse way to the white people from whom we seem to be copying everything. How could you buldoze a place whithout providing at least a temporary place for these thousands of people you are displacing? What is the purpose of a Government? It is to help protect its own citizens. but in Africa, the citizens are enemies and had to be crushed. What a life? You disrupt your own citizens' lives without providing any alternatives to them. it is just a command and people have to obey. When shall we ever be civilized and be humans?

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