Last August Amnesty International warned that forced evictions in Nigeria’s slums could result in 10,000 of thousands of refugees, but despite standing orders from international courts not to carry out these “forced evictions,” Nigerian authorities began demolition Nov. 9th.
According to reports, literally 30,000 people were made refugees and became homeless overnight after police carried out raids on the Lagos coastal community.
— JEI | #OtodoGbame (@justempower) November 10, 2016
— JEI | #OtodoGbame (@justempower) November 11, 2016
What is important to understand is that these forced evictions are not taking place to discriminate against poor communities or push refugees out of Nigeria, but instead for real estate investment. It just so happens that these “slum lands” exist on what could be considered prime waterfront property and the Nigerian Government wants to turn these impoverished communities into luxury apartment housing complexes/developments in the future – to attract investors to move to the country in the future.
What has gone largely unreported in the international press is the fact that these forced evictions throughout Nigeria are related to investors in Europe – such as Angela Merkel in Germany. For example, two days after forced evictions were carried out in Nigeria on November 9th, political leaders from African national met with Merkel and European leaders in Berlin to discuss what people are now referring to as “the Marshall Plan for Africa” – a long term investment strategy in Africa with hopes of reducing the refugee crisis in Europe.
Leaders in Europe hope that by investing in infrastructure/education in Africa and improving people’s quality of life there, that less people will want to leave the continent and migrate to Europe in the future. However, while this strategy has perhaps been initiated with honorable intentions, the unintended consequences resulting from it can be seen in the forced evictions currently taking place in Nigeria and the surrounding communities.
Tying all of this in with the news today, as of 2/2/2017 a Nigerian high court has ruled against the countries Government, “declaring the planned demolition of Mpape community illegal.” As reported by Amnesty International, “The judgment declared that Nigerian authorities have an obligation to refrain from forced evictions and make policies towards realizing the right to adequate housing and security of tenure for the residents.”
Amnesty goes on to decry this as a “landmark decision” and the organization is urging “all state governments across Nigeria to take heed of this ruling and take immediate steps to stamp out forced evictions. The ruling is a victory for the residents of Mpape who have lived with fear of forced eviction since 2012.”
What makes today’s ruling unique is that this is the first court inside the country to rule these types of evictions illegal. Previously only international courts have levied rulings against the Nigerian Government on these matters, but as Nigeria is a sovereign nation of its own, the Government has never felt obliged to acknowledge or uphold the judgements.
Whereas the evictions in Lagos last year “only” resulted in 30,000 refugees, Amnesty International points out how evictions in Mbabe would have resulted in will over 100,000. It remains to be seen where this issues goes from here or if Nigerian authorities will honor their courts decisions. Stay tuned to Alternative Medi4 or Amnesty International for any updates on the situation as they happen.
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Categories: World Events