- Title: Lagos waterfront communities protest demolitions of their homes
- Date: 5th December 2016
- Summary: LAGOS, NIGERIA (RECENT) (REUTERS) TRACTOR MOVING LAGOS STATE TASK FORCE TRUCK VARIOUS OF PEOPLE LOOKING THROUGH DEBRIS FOR POSSESSIONS VARIOUS OF PEOPLE AT DEMOLITION SITE VARIOUS OF LEKKI RESIDENT, JOHN, GOING THROUGH DEBRIS VARIOUS OF CHILDREN LOOKING THROUGH FLATTENED STRUCTURES (SOUNDBITE) (Yoruba) FISHERMAN, JOHN, SAYING: "We didn't salvage anything, we sleep on the floor over there. These are my own building materials with my children, with my twins, we sleep here, we don't go anywhere." (SOUNDBITE) (English) BUSINESSMAN, JOHN UDENWA, SAYING: "This is not the kind of change we voted for. We voted for a positive change not a negative one - destroying people's lives and properties, it doesn't make sense it's affecting us now no provision some people don't have a place to do business, and some people they are managing here this is where they are sleeping and go, if you go down there you will see some of them they put net outside and that was where they slept had even rain fell in the night, what happens to them? And we say we have government. This is a wicked government we don't expect this kind of thing from whosoever is in charge." VARIOUS OF DESTROYED STRUCTURES WOOD BURNING
- Embargoed: 20th December 2016 16:14
- Keywords: DemolIitions Slum Informal Settlement Lekki Shanty Town Development Evictions
- Location: LAGOS, NIGERIA
- City: LAGOS, NIGERIA
- Country: Nigeria
- Reuters ID: LVA0035BLWZFB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Once a bustling informal settlement in Nigeria's biggest city, Lagos, all that's now left of Otodo Gbame is a heap of demolished structures and ruined property, all destroyed during State-ordered demolitions and fighting between rival communities last month.
According to the Nigerian slum and informal settlement federation (NSISF), a network of activists working in Nigerian slum communities, more than 300,000 people face eviction and could be left homeless as prime waterfront in the city is cleared of shanty towns to make way for luxury redevelopment.
The Governor of Lagos state, Akinwunmi Ambode, announced the "demolition of all the shanties" around the creeks and waterways of Lagos State on October 09, citing public health and safety concerns.
Despite a High Court order to stop evictions issued on November 07, more than 40 slum communities who live on Lagos Lagoon now face eviction, according to campaigners.
"More than two hundred, two hundred police Nigerian police came in and start burning our houses, start put fire on the houses. They came with petrol when they pour petrol in your house, they start to shoot gun and the house catch fire, more than three thousand houses has burn here. So the church, the schools, the hospitals, everything has gone and during that operation we lost more than, during that operation we lost twenty people jump into the water," said Lagos resident, Christopher Oke.
"We want Lagos state government, federal and the whole world to make a proper investigation into this matter and so and bring the culprits, bring them to book we want justice so we have being living here for a long time so we don't have any other place to go. This is our home, we can't move an inch from here," said community leader Aisu Salastine.
Lagos police have denied claims that they had destroyed buildings and said they have made several arrests of arsonists.
In recent years, the area around Otodo Gbame, known as Lekki, has attracted investors who have built waterside apartments and commercial districts, pushing out fishing communities, according to a statement by Lagos-based legal campaign group Justice and Empowerment Initiatives (JEI).
Authorities have since demolished several informal areas that it says are home to criminal gangs, making them a security threat and are in breach of building regulations.
Human rights group, Amnesty International says that Lagos State authorities must take immediate steps to provide alternative accommodation for the tens of thousands made homeless, in direct contravention of a court order, when their homes were deliberately set alight.
Many residents who were at work during the demolitions, have since gone back to try and salvage whatever they can.
John, a fisherman says his family has nowhere else to go and is now forced to stay out in the cold.
"We didn't salvage anything; we sleep on the floor over there. These are my own building materials with my children, with my twins, we sleep here, we don't go anywhere," he said.
"This is not the kind of change we voted for. We voted for a positive change not a negative one - destroying people's lives and properties, it doesn't make sense it's affecting us now no provision some people don't have a place to do business, and some people they are managing here this is where they are sleeping and go, if you go down there you will see some of them they put net outside and that was where they slept had even rain fell in the night, what happens to them? and we say we have government. This is a wicked government we don't expect this kind of thing from whosoever is in charge," said businessman, John Udenwa.
The clearing of waterfront slums in Lagos comes just weeks after 193 countries agreed the New Urban Agenda at a U.N. summit in Quito, Ecuador, a policy document that aims to guide the growth of cities in the 21st century as well as enshrine humanitarian rights for the urban poor.
By 2050, Nigeria's population is set to more than double to 400 million, making it the world's third most populous nation after China and India, according to U.N. estimates.
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