Thousands of people have been left homeless in the Nigerian city of Lagos after a recent government-led eviction of an almost 200-year old shantytown.
During last week’s eviction of the Makoko slum, home to about 100,000 people, residents were given only 72 hours to evacuate before men in speedboats were sent to destroy their houses.
“As the city authorities continue to forcefully evict this community of mainly fishermen, many say there have nowhere to turn to,” said Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow, reporting from Lagos on Sunday.
The floating Makoko slum rises out of the murky lagoon water that separates mainland Nigeria from the island that gave birth to its largest city.
|“We are just trying to survive… This is unfair, we are human beings. How do you just throw out people without warning?”
– Makoko resident Mirabelle Agbete
According to reports, men armed with machetes and power saws descended on the shantytown to demolish it, leaving some 3,000 people homeless.
Adow said that with their houses demolished, many families were now left living on boats or seeking refuge in churches.
“The government is treating these people as though they were not human,” Felix Morka, a rights activist at the Social and Economic Rights Action Centre in Lagos, which works with Makoko residents, told Al Jazeera.
“It’s very condescending of the government to contemplate displacing nearly 150,000 people without any discussion or notice. That is wrong,” he said.
Nigeria’s government insists it has done nothing wrong.
Lateef Raji, an adviser to the governor of Lagos State, told Al Jazeera: “Let us look at how these people live. Is there any reasonable society that would allow its citizens to live the way they are living?”
Makoko resident Mirabelle Agbete said: “We are just trying to survive… This is unfair, we are human beings. How do you just throw out people without warning?” Read more…