Responding to the forced eviction of Otodo Gbame waterfront community by Lagos state government Morayo Adebayo, Amnesty International Nigeria Researcher said:
“The Lagos state government must stop using “security threats” as an excuse to carry out forced evictions, which are prohibited under international human rights law. We are extremely concerned that despite an existing court order prohibiting the demolition of Otodo Gbame, Lagos state government continues to forcibly evict, assault, and endanger the lives of its residents.
“The Inspector General of Police must immediately order an investigation into the deaths, deliberate destruction of property, and forced eviction of the fishing community Otodo Gbame along Lagos’ waterfronts and hold to account those responsible.
“All those that were forcibly evicted from Otodo Gbame and who are now at risk of homelessness must be provided with adequate, alternative housing as a matter of urgency by the Lagos state authorities. That these communities live in such hazardous conditions at all is a failure of the government to meet the demands of rapid urbanization and its human rights obligations to provide adequate housing for everyone.
On Saturday 8 April, about 9 am, armed thugs attacked the residents of Otodo Gbame Community, one resident was killed and at least five others injured. This attack is one of several attacks suffered by the community, since November 2016, when it was first demolished.
Armed police entered Otodo Gbame community on 8 April at about 6 am and fired live bullets and teargas at residents, even while they were trying to flee into the water. One person was killed amid the chaos. This attack continued until late evening. Thousands of people were evicted, including babies, people who were already injured or sick, and older persons. Many people were stranded on canoes on the water as the police prevented them from berthing on land.
Simultaneously, armed police doused houses, on land and water, with kerosene, setting them ablaze.
On 9 April, Lagos state Ministry of Justice confirmed that they demolished Otodo Gbame because of security concerns after security agents were killed in theIshawo area of Ikorodu in Lagos State on Saturday night. The Ministry tweeted on 9 April: “Lagos State government has received strong security reports revealing that militants are hiding amongst the people in the Otodo Gbame…”
It further stated: “The State government will stop at nothing to secure the State and is willing to take unpopular decisions that will protect lives & property. The Otodo Gbame situation is one of such. We are sure that posterity will justify this action”
Officials of the Lagos Task Force made up of Lagos State agencies, have repeatedly forcibly evicted Otodo Gbame residents. On 9 and 10 November 2016, more than 30,000 residents were forcibly evicted. The task force used fire and bulldozers to demolish the houses.
For more information about recent forced evictions of Otodo Gbame and the court rulings that are supposed to prevent it, see https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/03/nigeria-thousands-forced-to-flee-their-homes-amid-gunshots-and-tear-gas/