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Amnesty asks Nigerian govt to withdraw 21-day ultimatum to Lagos waterfront communities



Amnesty International, an international human rights organisation, has called on the Federal Government to withdraw a 21-day ultimatum issued to waterfront communities in the Oworonshoki area of Lagos by the National Inland Waterways Authority, to vacate their homes.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Amnesty’s Country Director, Isa Sanusi, stated that the threat of forced eviction violated the rights of the communities to adequate housing.

The organisation further stated that residents confirmed to AI that the proposed demolition in the communities was prompted by alleged plans to sell the area to private developers without the provision of alternative accommodation, thereby rendering them homeless.

Amnesty further noted that the Lagos State Government had forcibly evicted thousands of residents from their homes between the July 24 and August 1, 2023, with over 7,000 buildings burnt or demolished, while 30,000 residents had also been evicted from their homes in Otodo-Gbame community between November 2016 and April 2017.

The statement read in part: “Amnesty International calls on the Nigerian authorities to immediately withdraw the 21-day ultimatum given to residents of waterfront communities in Oworonshoki by the National Inland Waterways Authority to vacate their homes or be forcefully evicted over alleged contravention of the NIWA Act.

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“This fresh threat of forced eviction violates the right to adequate housing in the communities. NIWA and the Lagos authorities must halt these attacks on poor communities that are punished for the state’s urban planning failures.

“The trend in which Lagos authorities forcibly evict communities and hand over the land to private developers will only create a mega city that excludes the poor.

“Lagos State Government has been consistently violating the right to adequate housing – and in some cases doing so with utter disregard for court orders. NIWA and the Lagos State Government have an obligation to comply with international human rights law, which completely prohibits forced evictions.”

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