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Break the silence on the evictions: defend housing rights in Nigeria!

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Eviction in Chika
AP-George Osodi

What’s going on in Nigeria?

On November 28th 2005, President Obasanjo gave the go-ahead for the most massive and violent operation of forced evictions in living memory, not just in Africa, but in the world. The demolitions and forced evictions affect over 4 million inhabitants, out of a total of 7 million residentsin the federal capital, Abuja. Acting on the orders of the Minister, Mallam Nasir El Rufai, Chairman of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), officials of the FCDA escorted by the police, the army and bulldozers, began to destroy the houses, schools, hospitals, churches and mosques of Abuja.

Local organizations and NGOs denounce the action and stress the incredibly large number of people involved: no adequate notice was given; no government plans were proposed for the re-housing or compensation of those evicted; 800,000 people were forced into homelessness particularly in the area along the International Airport Road, at Pyakasa, Kuchingoro, Garamajiji, Aleita, Chika, Galadimawa, Gosa A., Gosa Sarki, and Sabon Lugbe. Other forced evictions took place in Gwagwa, Karimu and Dei dei. Over 2,000 families are forced to sleep amongst the rubble of their former homes or in makeshift camps. Over 15,000 children have been forced to give up school. The extreme conditions give rise to violence, especially against women - including pregnant women - and girls, who are thus even more exposed to the dangers of prostitution and AIDS. The reason for all this cruelty lies in the decision to implement the master plan drawn up in 1978 by the International Consortium of Planners, Urban Designers and Architects (USA), to develop the city of Abuja, which at that time had just been nominated the new federal capital of Nigeria. The master plan, which has been in the pipeline for years, envisages a population of 3 million inhabitants at the most. According to the logic of the master plan, therefore, the extra 4 million inhabitants are outside the legal limit and must be expelled from their homes.

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