- Posted July 19, 2012 by
Lagos, Nigeria, Nigeria
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Living in small spaces
Lagos State Government displaced the people of Makoko Community
On July 16th, Lagos State Government deployed its paramilitary force, marine force and the Lagos State Security Task force to demolish Makoko Community on its Waterfront. The community which is popularly called the Floating Village by foreign photographers and journalists received a 72-hours quit notice from the Lagos State Ministry of Waterfront.
In a meeting held at the State Secretariat in Alausa, Ikeja on June 23rd the commissioner for the state Waterfront said to the six invited Makoko community leaders (Egun speaking people) who attended that the sight of the community from the 3rd Mainland Bridge is an eyesore for the civil Lagosians and the International community who ploy the bridge on a daily basis. Hence, he announced that he has been given directive by the Lagos State Government to demolish all structures on the waterfront.
The Executive Director of the Social and Economic Rights Action Center (SERAC), Felix Morka (LL. M Harvard) pointed out in a discussion with the community leaders on July 17th, 2012 that the State Government has no jurisdiction over the waterfront. Legally speaking, Felix said that the country’s Waterfront is in within the jurisdiction of the Nigeria Inland Waterfront Authourity (NIWA). And therefore, Federal Government has a role to protect people of Nigeria.
Lagos State commissioner for Waterfront, Hon. Segun Oniru however claimed that some of the structures are directly under the High-tension Cables and therefore it’s dangerous for the safety of life and property of the people living in this community.
In 2008, Makoko was announced as one of the NINE SLUMS in Lagos State to be upgraded through the Lagos Metropolitan Development and Governance Project (LMDGP) funded by World Bank in a $200 million International Development Association (IDA) credit facility.
Makoko is largely dominated by low incoming earners whose major business is fishing. The Floating Village has not gained the support of the state government in time past. The development in the community has been made possible by funding from the International community: Individuals, NGOs and the World Bank initiatives supported projects.
At the moment, more than 20,000 people have been rendered homeless in the demolition exercise by the state government force agents. These people both adult and children now cook and sleep in their various fishing boats on the lagoon at night.
Repeatedly, operations of the present Lagos State Government has proven to its citizenry that the state is only meant for the indigenes and rich individuals. The Minister’s arguement may not be completely true has there are quite a number of “Exclusives Estates” and communities that are directly built under the Power-line through Lagos landscape.