Amnesty urges halt to forced evictions in Lagos
Amnesty International urged authorities in Nigeria's Lagos state to halt a planned demolition that could force thousands of waterfront residents to lose their homes.
The government had given residents up to the weekend to vacate their homes ahead of the demolitions following an upsurge in kidnappings in the state capital Lagos, a megacity of some 20 million.
"Tens of thousands of people living in settlements along creeks and waterfronts, the majority of whom are poor fishing communities, are at risk of forced evictions," Amnesty International said in a statement.
"This comes as a result of Lagos State authorities' plans to demolish irregular structures in their attempt to improve security following a rise in kidnappings," it said.
The government believes kidnappers are using illegally-built homes on the waterfront.
Last week, four students and two teachers were kidnapped from their school in the riverside community of Igbonla.
The hostages were released on Tuesday night after ransom was allegedly paid.
"While the government needs to address the issue of abductions, destroying people's homes and forcibly evicting tens of thousands of people from their homes can never be a lawful response," said Amnesty International Nigeria's researcher Morayo Adebayo.
Adebayo said it was wrong for the government to give the residents a week's notice to vacate their homes without paying compensation or giving them alternative accommodation.
"It is staggering to think that Lagos still does not have a law prohibiting forced evictions and guaranteeing people's right to housing," she said.