Over 4000 residents of Otodogbame waterfront community in Lagos, Nigeria were on 26 March forcibly evicted from their homes by Lagos State officials. No notice was issued to the residents prior to the forced eviction. Several residents were injured during the incident as police used excessive force.

Five women and three men, including an elderly man above 70 years who could no longer walk as a result of the beating he received were arrested during the demolitions. All eight were eventually released after about 10 hours in detention.

This forced eviction was the third eviction of the community since November 2016. Over 30,000 thousand residents of Otodo Gbame, Ilubirin and Ebute Ikate waterfront communities in Lagos State were forcibly evicted by Lagos State authorities on 9 and 10 November 2016 respectively .

A Lagos State High Court in an interim ruling made on 26 January 2017, stated that the forced eviction of Otodogbame community which took place on 9-10 November 2016 amounted to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and was a violation of the right to dignity enshrined in Section 34 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The judge then ordered the Lagos State government and residents of Otodogbame to attempt mediation through the Lagos State Multi-Door Courthouse.

Lagos State authorities on 17 March defied the existing court order as well as an ongoing mediation process and demolished homes that had been rebuilt in Otodogbame waterfront community after the November 2016 demolitions. The police fired gunshots and used teargas to disperse residents.

More than 4,700 people lost their homes and livelihoods. In September 2015, approximately 10,200 residents of Badia-East community in Ijora area of Lagos were forcibly evicted, and many of them remain homeless and dependent on family and friends.

In September 2016, residents of Ilubirin community were also forcibly evicted from their homes without prior notice. The state government is yet to provide any compensation or resettlement to evictees from these demolitions.

The Lagos State authorities stated that the forced evictions and demolitions in the waterfront communities is because of the environmental risks these waterfront communities.

Over 40 communities and tens of thousands of residents are currently at risk of imminent eviction across the state. Nigeria is a party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and other international and regional human rights treaties, which require it to realize the right to adequate housing, and to prevent and refrain from carrying out forced evictions.

By Dotun Roy

DotunRoy.com is a development driven news website with the overall goal of amplifying, promoting and advocating for positive societal change through Sustainable Development advocacy in line with UN SDGs components such as education, environmental sustainability and Climate Change, Human Rights, health, finance, housing, good governance as well as security in Nigeria and across the world.

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