Nigeria: UN expert urges authorities to halt ongoing trend of forced evictions
Forced evictions in Nigeria
23 November 2015
GENEVA (23 November 2015) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Leilani Farha, today urged the Nigerian Government to put an immediate end to the ongoing trend of evictions in the country.
The human rights expert raised concerns with the government about the large-scale demolitions and evictions carried out in Badia, Lagos, which rendered thousands of people homeless. All up, more than 30,000 people will lose their homes, businesses and livelihoods, if demolitions in this area continue as planned.
“I am alarmed that over 10,000 people, including children, women and elders have been pushed out of their homes without prior notice in the middle of the rainy season, with police sometimes resorting to violence to carry out the evictions,” Ms. Farha said. “There was no consultation or discussion about alternative temporary housing options available to them.”
“More troubling yet is that two months later there are still hundreds of people sleeping in makeshift shelters or churches, facing routine harassment, with the situation getting worse every day, and without any adequate response by the local or federal authorities in line with their international human rights obligations,” she deplored.
The independent expert noted that this trend of forced evictions invariably leads to homelessness due to a lack of affordable and adequate housing, in particular for people living in poverty or who have moved to cities to escape violence. “There is no viable resettlement or alternative accommodation provided by authorities for affected individuals, and many fear further evictions as they lack security of tenure,” she warned.
Unlawful forced evictions were already executed in an adjoining area in Lagos in February 2013, displacing over 9,000 people. Studies of mid-term impacts show than one out of three persons evicted at that time were still homeless years after their eviction.
Two months after the latest evictions in Badia took place, there is no response yet to the concerns raised by affected individuals and their representatives by either the State or Federal authorities, even after the expert raised the issue with the Government last month.
“I urge all levels of Government in Nigeria to immediately halt these unlawful evictions which are causing massive homelessness and ensure that those affected have access to just and effective remedies, including compensation,” she concluded.
Leilani Farha (Canada) is the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context. She took her function in June 2014. Ms. Farha is the Executive Director of the NGO Canada without Poverty, based in Ottawa, Canada. A lawyer by training, for the past 20 years Ms. Farha has worked both internationally and domestically on the implementation of the right to adequate housing for the most marginalized groups and on the situation of people living in poverty. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Housing/Pages/HousingIndex.aspx
The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.