Amnesty International and the Social and Economic Rights Action Centre (SERAC) have called for an immediate end to mass evictions in Lagos state in Nigeria’s South-west, until safeguards have been put in place to protect people from forced eviction.
The report said new evidence from satellite images has revealed the true extent of a forced eviction in Badia East in Nigeria’s biggest city of Lagos and one of Africa’s two mega cities.
According to the organizations, the pictures, taken before and after demolitions carried out by the Lagos state government on 23 Feb. 2013, clearly show that a densely populated area containing concrete houses and other structures was razed to the ground.
It is estimated that close to 9,000 residents of Badia East lost their homes or livelihoods. However senior officials in the Lagos state government had claimed that the area was a rubbish dump.
The report highlights the devastating impacts of the forced evictions on the residents’ lives. Many women whose small businesses were demolished on 23 Feb. described how they are now dependent on family and friends for basic necessities.
Some said that they are suffering from malaria or typhoid after living in the open but can no longer afford to pay for medicines and treatment.
“The government must immediately provide effective remedies for the violations it has committed and provide all those affected with adequate alternative housing and compensation,” Felix Morka, executive director of SERAC, said in a statement posted on the website of Amnesty International Monday.
“The effects of February’s forced eviction have been devastating for the Badia East community where dozens are still sleeping out in the open or under a nearby bridge exposed to rain, mosquitoes and at risk of physical attack,” Oluwatosin Popoola, Amnesty International’s Nigeria researcher, said in the statement.
The government has said the eviction was the first phase of its plans to clear out the whole of Badia East in order to ”redevelop” the area.
The groups said if these plans proceed as described, tens of thousands will be at risk of forced eviction and face possible destitution.
“The Lagos state government has failed to comply with national and international law. It is high time that the Lagos state government and the Nigerian government stop forced evictions and enact legal safeguards that apply to all evictions,” Popoola said.
The groups urged the Nigerian government to impose a moratorium on mass evictions until it had adopted legislation to protect people from forced evictions, which are illegal under international law.