LAGOS — Nigerian officials on Monday began demolishing a large waterfront slum in the economic capital Lagos, a move that could leave tens of thousands of people homeless.
The Makoko settlement consists of rows of shanties perched on stilts in the lagoon of Lagos, one of the world's largest cities with an estimated population of roughly 15 million.
The Lagos state government on July 12 warned Makoko residents that "their unwholesome structures on the waterfront" amounted to an "environmental nuisance", in a letter seen by AFP.
"Notice is hereby given to you to vacate and remove all illegal developments along the Makoko/Iwaya Waterfront within 72 hours," said the letter from the Lagos state ministry of waterfront, infrastructure and development.
Community leaders said that the demolition had begun.
An official from the waterfront ministry who drafted the eviction notice, Akin Tijani, told AFP he was not able to estimate the number of people affected.
Some community leaders and activists however said tens of thousands of people live in the targeted slum, visible from the bridge that connects mainland Lagos to the wealthier island districts.
The Makoko settlement is divided between land-based and waterfront areas, with the inland residents not affected by the demolitions.
"The government has repeatedly given enough notice to those occupying these illegal structures to leave. But this has been to no avail as those involved would not listen," said Raymond Adekunle Akonsemoyin, the community leader for all of Makoko, who lives on land.
A representative from the waterfront community told AFP the demolitions were having a "terrible" impact.
Amnesty International on July 6 condemned the government of the southern Rivers state for evicting without proper warning up to 20,000 people from a waterfront shanty community in the oil hub of Port Harcourt.
Hard as it is to contemplate the eviction of Makoko residents and demolition of their shanties, we should also look at it from a develomental point of view. Development comes with pains. When people live on shouses built on stilts, it is impossible for the government to implement any developmental projects (electricity for all it is worth, pipe borne water, roads, sanitation, markets etc). The residents must be moved to sanitize the area but my fear is that what happened at Maroko will happen again. Poor residents will be displaced and be replaced by rich citizens who will sandfill the waterfront and build their multi-million naira waterfront mansions in the area. As long as the intentions of the government are altruistic, I support the implementation of the demolition.
Re: [News and Features] Demolition starts at Makoko slum in Lagos
The quote in bold reminds me of Jonathan's Swifts essay, A Modest Proposal. An elitist world view would use developmental arguments to justify displacement of poor people in a society that created such people, only to reallocate such lands, and the waterfront views to the connected and powerful.
I guess you can only hope that someday we would have leaders that see the world not from this narrow conception of development, but from a more robust conception of development. The development that would not rob Peter to pay Paul, the development that would include not only our kith and kin, not only our 'tribesmen,' but people that share this mother earth with us.
This idea of development, sometimes, is the justification of an ideology of seeing the world narrowly in terms of aesthetics and growth in GDP. It is really not human centered development.
Lagos is fast becoming a city of the super rich and the mega rich.
Every square inch of land and space is being utilized and developed to make more money and create more wealth.
Soon there will be no creek, river or barren crop of land left undeveloped. All sold off to the highest bidder... In a bid to make Lagos the newest mega city of the world.
To be honest sha, am glad those shanties are being demolished.
Its an eye sore and since that BBC documentary sometime last year, about lagos, featuring Makoko, it has gained an international fame and notoriety.
The sooner its demolished, the better, abeg!
...ma sentiments precisely.....indeed.
EKO O NI BAJE O!!!
Thanks for your contribution. Honestly, I don't want to believe that the governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola, is another heartless and insensitive administrator. Although, I am just lost for words whenever I remember that he sacked more than 758 doctors not quiet long ago for demanding wage increase. Till today, I still can not understand the justification to warrant the sacking of more than 758 doctors that Lagosians completely depend on for medical treatment and their lives. I think that is really heartless. As a Yoruba proverb says "ori bibe ki n se ogun ori-fifo." Ti a ba de n so kun, o ye ki a ma riran ke! Abi beko? I expected Babatunde Fashola to find a wise and acceptable solution to the crisis rather than sacking them.
But, as far as Makoko demolition is concerned, I think that there is a need to carry out a balanced analysis - and not jump into conclusion. Ishhnnn't it? First, to the best of my knowledge(and I stand to be corrected by anybody reading this post), the residents of Makoko are occupying the place ILLEGALY. They don't have any official permission or right to live there. Secondly, the place is an eye sore, and a big embarrassment both to the state government, Lagosians and Yoruba as a nation. And it's a big threat too to promoting tourism too. Fourthly, it's very unhygenic living in such a place. It pozes a very serious health hazard both to the residents and Lagosians. Fifthly, I heard/read that the illegal occupants have been warned by the Lagos state government before-hand to vacate the place with immediate effect , but most of them turned deaf ears. They thought that the government was joking. We all know that it's normal for our people to be lackaidaisical in their attitudes to things that even concern their well-being and lives.
Furthermore, from the economic point of view, I really don't see anything wrong if the place is given to the highest bidder after (re)development as far as the new occupants/beneficiaries are Nigerians/black Africans (and not some f=u-c=k-i=n-g Americans, British, Lebanese, Chinese, Indians, Arabs etc), Nigerian companies (and not foreign companies) carry out most of the contracts and the money received is used to better the lives of Lagosians. It's normal, in some cases, for the government to try to get the maximum value for some of its assets. And Makoko is a classic example of profit maximization.
In addition, taking into consideration the fact that Lagos state is the smallest state by land mass, but the most populated, further puts additional pressure on the government to maximise the returns on its very limited tangible assets in order to invest the proceeds on badly needed and expensive infrastructure - thereby reducing the amount of capital to be borrowed for projects. Under such a scenario, I am sure that we will all agree that it's a Win-Win deal for all the stakeholders. With Lagos alone accounting for a whopping 65% of Nigeria's commercial activities, It's normal to expect that Lagos will be the most expensive city/state(as is also the case in metropolitans like London, Paris, Monako, Singapore, Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles etc) in terms of cost of living. This is just basic law of economics. And as we say in Siberia, 'Economics laws are also economic laws(i.e. applicable too) even in Africa too! And By the way, everybody does not have to live in Lagos. Issshhhhnn't it(eat)? Let people move up to Ibadan. There is more than enough land there - and it's just about 90 minutes drive - depending on traffic. In general, it's the duty of a responsible government to always find a balance between the rich and the poor(especially the indigenes and their kinsmen from other Yoruba states in the case of Lagos) so that the latter could always have 'attractive' alternatives, have a sense of belonging and not feel dejected, oppressed and suppressed by the 'money miss roads.' I sincerely hope that Fashola, with the assistance of the leaders of the ACN and Yoruba respectively will succeed in this mission.
Like I've always said, although, I am against corruption, but the funniest thing is that the real damage to Nigeria's economy, from the micro-economic point of view, is caused/inflicted not even because of the money stolen/embezzled per se, but the fact that this money are being taken out of Nigeria and no more circulating in our economy! Micro-economy takes into consideration the amout(supply) of money in an economy irrespective of the ownership and this goes a long way in determining the interest rates, economic activities and subsequently the GDP. If the people that steal money in Nigeria reinvest them or at least keep them in Nigerian banks, Nigerians with good business ideas and established businesses could borrow them and invest in their respective businesses.
Frankly speaking, in as much as I appreciate what Fashola is doing in Lagos, nevertheless, suffice to say that I have some reservation as regards to his economic policies. But, that's a topic for another day - if the need arises.
Most importantly, if we all agree that Makoko is occupied illegally, what that means in essence(from the legal point) is that the Lagos state government does not owe these people any obligation or compensation whatsoever!
EKO O NI BAJE O!
We must not are miss an historical moment that chance has offered us to get rid of the descendants of Usman Don Fodio for good! We must never allow the Hausa-Fulani to ride on our backs to Aso-rock. Our children and generations to come will never forgive us!!!
THERE WAS NEVER ONE NIGERIA!
THERE IS NO ONE NIGERIA NOW!
AND THERE WILL NEVER BE ONE NIGERIA IN THE NEXT 500 YEARS!
IT DIED COMPLETELY AND FINALLY WHEN CHIEF MOSHOOD ABIOLA, THE WINNER OF THE JUNE 12, 1992 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS WAS MURDERED IN PRISON BY NORTHERN MILITARY OFFICERS (WITH THE COLLABORATION AND APPROVAL OF THE AMERICAN, BRITISH AND FRENCH GOVERNMENTS)!
TIME HAS PROVED THAT A HAUSA-FULANI MAN CAN NEVER DEFEND THE INTERESTS(RIGHTS, PROPERTIES AND LIVES) OF NDIGBO NEITHER INSIDE NOR OUTSIDE NIGERIA! LET US STOP DECEIVING OURSELVES!
ALL ONE NIGERIA HAS GIVEN THE SOUTH SO FAR IS TRAGEDY, PAIN, TEARS AND SORROW!!!
LET US SAVE OUR CHILDREN, GRANDCHILDREN AND GENERATIONS TO COME FROM THE NIGHMARE CALLED ONE NIGERIA BY ENDING THE FORCED RELATION IMPOSED ON US BY THE BRITISH FOR THEIR OWN SELFISH POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC INTERESTS!!!
IF WE FAIL TO DO SO NOW, THEY WILL NEVER FORGIVE US!!!
WE ALL NEED OUR OWN PRESIDENTS, MINISTERS, AMBASSADORS, EMBASSIES, POLICE AND ARMY TO DEFEND OUR RIGHTS, PROPERTIES, LIVES AND INTERESTS - NIGERIA IS NOT CAPABLE OF DOING THAT FOR 52 YEARS!!!
LET US SAVE NIGERIANS AND NOT NIGERIA FROM COMPLETE DESTRUCTION BY INCOMPETENT, CORRUPT, VISIONLESS AND MORALLY BANKRUPT OPPORTUNISTS LIKE JONATHAN BADLUCK AND HIS COLLEAGUES BY BREAKING UP NIGERIA NOW!!!
TOMORROW MAY BE TOO LATE!!!
IF YOU LOVE YOUR CHILDREN, RELATIVES, FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES, DON'T EVER ALLOW THEM TO GO TO THE NORTH 'UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES' TO SERVE THE USELESS NYSC!! THEIR LIVES ARE MUCH MORE IMPORTANT!!! NIGERIA, A FAILED STATE, BIGGEST BANANA REPUBLIC IN THE WORLD, A VERY SICK AND DOOMED COUNTRY, IS NOT WORTH DYING FOR!!!
WE EXPECT ALL THE GOVERNORS AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF SOUTHERN STATES TO PASS A LAW THAT WILL PROHIBIT/BAN THEIR INDEGINES FROM GOING TO THE NORTH TO SERVE AS CORPERS IRRESPECTIVE OF WHATEVER GUARANTEE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND NORTHERN GOVERNORS MIGHT MAKE!!! DON'T EVER TRUST THESE PEOPLE OR ENTRUST YOUR LIVES TO THEM!!! THEY ARE NOT RELIABLE!!!
JONATHAN BADLUCK, STELLA ODUA, ALLISON MADUEKE HAVE MURDERED THEM AND KILLED THEIR DREAMS!!!! WHAT A
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Er.....but what happens to the evicted people? Is there any planned relocation.When they now turn to criminality we all we shout blue murder. Granted the place needs to be cleaned up but there are better ways to enforce it.Oh I suppose they wil just find another water slum and the whole process will start again.
Let's not kid ourselves. Might is still right. Who cares about the poor? Mansion by a waterfront is the dream of many wealthy Nigerians. The source of wealth is irrelevant. The villager who said-as with Maroko, so it will be with Makoko- is on target. Sanitization is a very minor objective. If the government wants to prove me wrong, it should disclose its plans for the area. I doubt if low cost housing is tangentially mentioned in the plan. Are we surprised that people try to accumulate wealth by hook or crook? Yes, the poor must be evicted to make room for the rich.
Before I comment on the story itself...
You know it is beginning to look like the West has something up it sleeves with the population of Nigeria. Less than a decade ago we heard that Lagos has a population of about 10 million. The last official population from 2006, (6 years ago mind you) was put at 9 million. Then about in the last two years the said the population was 13 million. Today it is now 15 million... So if the 2006 census was close to being correct, you mean the population of Lagos has increased by almost 60% in 6 years?
Omo, how far now?
IT'S VERY EASY TO DECEIVE, MANIULATE AND CONTROL A BANANA REPUBLIC LIKE NIGERIA!!!
If not for the fact that Nigeria is a FAILED STATE, BIGGEST BANANA REPUBIC IN THE WORLD, A VERY SICK AND DOOMED COUNTRY why shoud the West be teling us our population??????!!!!!! We should be the one providing them with this population. Nigeria's true population(including those of the respective 36 states) is one of the biggest secrets. But, how can you plan and develop without a reliable data about your population at your disposal. So, we should not blame the West. They are pursuing and defending their own selfish interests at our expense because WE ARE STUPID AND MONKEYS!!!