UN rights expert urges Nigeria to end unlawful evictions
A UN human rights expert on Monday advised Nigerian officials to halt mass, unlawful evictions and demolitions in the region of Badia, Lagos, expressing concern over the homelessness resulting from a lack of adequate housing and compensation to victims. Special Rapporteur Leilani Farha, an expert on the right to adequate housing, warned that upwards of 30,000 people are at risk of losing their homes and livelihoods if planned demolitions go on without intervention. “I am alarmed that … 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,” Farha said in her statement. Bulldozers moved into the area in September after a Nigerian court ruled in favor of a local chief seeking to reclaim the land upon which the informal town has been built. Two months after the last forced eviction, the government as not responded to concerns raised by Farha or by those affected by the evictions. The expert called upon the Nigerian government to respond to the crisis with standards up to par with international human rights requirements and to provide remedies to those affected.
Monday’s remarks come a month after Amnesty International (AI) announced the establishment of an office in Abuja, Nigeria, in an effort to curb human rights abuses that the Nigerian government has long failed to prevent. This move was prompted in large part by a report in June that, since 2011, 8,000 Nigerian civilians have been killed as a result of abuses by military forces. Although AI’s move may help curb human rights abuses, Nigerian civilians are still subjected to significant threats by the Islamic militant group Boko Haram. Boko Haram [BBC backgrounder], which means “Western education is a sin,” has been fighting to overthrow the Nigerian government in the interest of creating an Islamist state since the early 2000s. On Thursday UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned a Boko Haram terrorist attacks that left 30 Nigerians dead and an additional 80 injured. In April the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Raad al-Hussein, reported that Boko Haram militants in Nigeria have been murdering women and girls previously taken captive by the group.
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