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Waterfront shantytowns demolished in Lagos

Government-backed demolition of shantytowns in Lagos put more than 300,000 residents at risk of eviction. (Nigeria Slum/Informal Settlement Federation)

Waterfront property in Lagos is considered prime real estate. For the urban poor living in shantytowns, government-backed demolitions that accommodate developers are resulting in displacement.

Roopa Gogineni reports for PRI that more than 300,000 residents are at risk of eviction. Two informal settlements in Nigeria’s capital, Small Kuramo and Otodo Gbame, have been flattened since October. The demolitions are sudden and violent, with bulldozers razing buildings with little notice. The toppling of Otodo Gbame included mysterious arson fires.

The government insists that the shantytowns must be torn down because they pose environmental hazards or harbor criminals. But critics say the municipality should include the poor in its urban planning. The demolitions come as a gleaming new waterfront enclave, Eko Atlantic, rises on land reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean. “As the city undergoes a dramatic metamorphosis, many are experiencing the brutal reality of rapid urbanization,” AFP concludes here


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