Monday, November 28, 2011

Shantytown Dwellers Face Eviction

23 November 2011

Port Harcourt — Over 200,000 people living in shantytowns on the waterfront in Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers State, southern Nigeria, could be forcibly evicted if local authorities carry out their threat to demolish the settlements, say human rights group Amnesty International and local activists.

"I will demolish [the] waterfronts. All of them," Rivers State Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi told reporters on 27 October. Residents are considered "temporary occupants" and government is only legally required to give seven days' notice to vacate, he said, adding demolitions are needed to reduce crime in the area and make way for new developments.

In a report in October 2011 Amnesty said if people are forcibly evicted without adequate consultation, sufficient notice, compensation or alternative accommodation, many will be left homeless and risk losing their livelihoods.

Despite Amaechi's statements, Rivers State's Commissioner for Urban Development, Tammy Danagogo, said notice will be given and consultations will take place before people are asked to move.

Residents are unconvinced. "There is no proper information - we don't have any idea of when they will demolish," said Fubara Samuel, a waterfront resident and housing rights activist.

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