As the centre of excellence, Lagos, is a role model to other states in Nigeria. The state Consistently strives for excellence, after it’s attainment of a mega city status based on it’s the number of people in the state. The Lagos state government has put measures in place to make the state the best in Africa and in fact, in Nigeria. Some of these measures are The Lagos Rent to Own Scheme, its vision to increase the number of housing in Lagos by providing 187,500 houses in the next five years.
In a view of this, last week, dozens of slum and informal settlement dwellers protested the state government’s “anti-poor policies”, calling on the governor to include the poor in the Lagos mega city project. At the end of the peaceful protest at the state secretariat in Alausa, the government invited representatives of the communities to a meeting the next day, October 5.
During the meeting, the communities presented the concerns of three constituencies of the urban poor in Lagos – persons living in informal settlements; persons working in the informal economy; and persons living with disabilities.
The Nigerian Slum/Informal Settlement Federation, comprising over 70 informal settlements in Lagos, has demanded the retraction of a seven-day eviction notice issued by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode. The group claimed to be “shocked and dismayed” over the governor’s pronouncement in the middle of a meeting between slum communities and state government.
The meeting was adjourned until October 11. But on October 9, Mr. Ambode issued a seven-day notice of demolition to all illegal waterfront communities across the state. According to the governor, such shanties are often used as hideouts by kidnappers and militants before using the waterways to move their victims to another location.
However, the slum communities suspended the dialogue with the government until the eviction notice is retracted. The statement was signed by community representatives. It statement threatens that the slum dwellers will embark on mass protest across the state, should the notice not be retracted by end of the day on 12 October 2016.
“Our communities are full of law-abiding – if impoverished, residents of Lagos State. We belong in the city and we have a right to the city as well as the right to shelter and to livelihood. “Forced eviction is not only unlawful; it is also ineffective. It will also not solve whatever problems your administration hopes to solve, the notice claimed as stated in Premium Times.
This may end up leading to and an increasing level of homelessness in Nigeria, thereby causing more housing deficit. Many are yet to come out of the shock of the recent demolition of 1000 houses in Abule Egba. The Lagos state government no doubt has beautiful policies to indeed make Lagos a Mega City. But increasing housing deficit or an increased number of displaced people may pose more challenges to the development of the state.
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