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Lagos slum evictions ‘unlawful’

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Lagos slum evictions ‘unlawful’

Lagos slum evictions ‘unlawful’

NEWISSUES, Abuja

Stephanie Hegarty

BBC Africa, Lagos

A state caterpillar tries to grade with sand areas where residents were evicted at Badia East slums in Lagos on August 12, 2013

AFP: The government pressed ahead with demolitions despite opposition

A High Court in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, has ruled that the eviction of up to 30,000 people from a waterfront slum is unconstitutional.

The community of Otodo Gbame was cleared between November 2016 and February this year by the Lagos State government. It said the area posed an “environmental risk”.

Crowds cheered outside a packed courtroom where many of the evicted residents had gathered for the ruling.

The judge ruled in their favour, saying the eviction violated their rights because there was no resettlement plan in place.

Lagos State previously denied that they demolished the slum and said it was destroyed by a fire after which they cleared the remains in February because it was unsanitary and was a fire risk.

But it seems that account did not hold sway in court. The judge ruled the state should pay compensation to residents and ordered the two sides to go into mediation.

The clearing of Otodo Gbame is seen as part of a statewide policy to clear up to 300,000 people from informal waterside settlements.

Lagos State officials have yet to respond to the verdict, though they have ignored rulings like this in past.

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