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Updated: 18.12.2012 15:51
Aktuelle Meldungen im neuen LabourNet Germany

Auch hier wird "urbanisiert": 800.000 Menschen vertrieben

Seit 2003 wird im Bundesdistrikt (um die Hauptstadt Abuja) "saniert": 49 Slums stehen auf der Räumungsliste des Innenministeriums. Bei manchen Räumungen wurde schlichtweg alles niedergewalzt, einschliesslich der ohnehin prekären sozialen Einrichtungen - bis hin zu Kirchen. Der (englische,mit kurzer deutscher Zusammenfassung) Solidaritätsaufruf "Nigeria authorities massively evict communities, rendering up to 800,000 people homeless" vom 7. Juni 2006.

Authorities massively evict communities, rendering up to 800,000 people homeless

House/community demolitions, forced evictions, use of force, deprivation of the means of subsistence

The Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN), part of Habitat International Coalition (HIC), in cooperation with its member, the Development Initiatives Network (DIN), and with Women Environmental Programme, in Nigeria, have received disturbing news about mass evictions in the city of Abuja. *Your urgent action is required in Nigeria.

Brief description

Evictions began on a mass scale in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), of which Abuja is a part, with the appointment of FCT Federal Minister Mallam El-Rufai in 2003. Since then, evictions have taken place in nine communities, of a total 49 settlement areas earmarked for demolition. The communities affected by these demolitions thus far include: Wuse, (2004), Mpape (2004), Dantata (November 2004), Old Karimo (November 2004), Jabi/Kado (April 2004), Chika (November 2005), Idu Karimo (2005-2006), Kubwa (June 2005-April 2006), and Dei-dei (April 2006).

The authorities have left Chika (Extension) Community in total destruction, including social services, schools and churches. They also have demolished most of Idu-Karmo community, leaving only the church, in operations carried out during February and March 2006. Witnesses report that only half-destroyed churches remain amid vast areas of former human habitat with houses having disappeared into rubble.

Local people refer to the government's bulldozers as "El-Rufai's" bulldozers. Many persons having lost their houses have had no recourse but to sleep in the church hall. When the bulldozers came to destroy the sacristy and parish house in the Idu-Karmo neighbourhood, on 13 March 2006, inhabitants wept for their beloved community-built church. After the bulldozer finished destroying the small buildings and the hall, the driver proceeded to do the same with the church facade and its tall bell tower, but underwent a heart attack at that moment and had to be taken to hospital. Reportedly for superstitious reasons, no bulldozer operator accepted to continue the job.

Approximately three hundred churches, mosques, schools and social services are said to have been affected. Six big parishes are completely destroyed, some of them with 30,000 or more community members. The destroyed churches, particularly the Catholic Church in Idu Karimo, represent a loss to the communities of no less than $230,760.

Evictions and demolitions are being conducted haphazardly, often at the whim of local authorities, with little or no notice to the inhabitants. Demolitions take place mostly in the outlying regions of Abuja City and often continue from 08:00 until 18:00.

Critique of the official reasons

The government rationalizes this wide-scale destruction as implementation of the 1979 Abuja Master Plan. Belatedly and retroactively applying the outdated plan now renders entire communities “illegal.” The present government argues that the previous administration was corrupt and, thus, has nullified allocation documents that the former authorities had issued.

Minister El-Rufai claims that President Obasanjo mandated him to ensure that Abuja not suffer the degradation and unregulated developments that have characterized other Nigerian cities, including Lagos. Implementation of the Master Plan, which seeks the “beautification” of the Federal Capital City, is being undertaken without adequate community consultations. The Development Control Department of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) has been carrying out demolitions in all districts of Abuja, including the exclusive neighbourhoods of Maitama and Asokoro, and in the central districts of Wuse and Garki. The six communities along the Airport Road, that is Chika, Karimajiji, Kuchingoro, Alerta, Piwoyi, and Pyakassa, have predominantly low-income residents.

The protraction of the evictions is particularly suspicious, considering that many of those being evicted have official allocations of and/or deeds to the land. For example, according to Abuja’s Archbishop John Onayiekan, all the parishes and churches were built on officially designated sites with the consent of the city administration and under formal title deeds registered years ago.

Real estate investment and privatization are the real causes underlying the evictions and demolitions. Consequently,/ /private real estate developers have assumed the key role in rebuilding over demolished property. For example on the site of the demolished Chika community two projects are planned: a national park and a technology village, the land of which is owned by a private real estate developer, Aldenco System Nigeria Limited.

Duty Holders

The FCDA is chaired by the Federal Minister Mallam El-Rufai, whom President Obasanjo appointed. As such, the primary duty holders are the State authorities, which include President Obasanjo and Federal Minister El-Rufai. No government body has provided adequate alternative accommodation for the affected people or compensation for/ /the considerable costs and losses that the residents have incurred. The FCDA/ /bears that statutory responsibility. In addition, private corporations directly involved in and/or making available the tools for demolitions are secondary duty holders.

Legal Aspects - Domestic Laws

HIC-HLRN‚s partners and local organizations confirm that, although courts issued injunctions against some of the Abuja demolitions, the FCDA disregarded them. In fact, the persistent disobedience of court orders was one of the reasons that the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) cited for organizing a national boycott of the courts on 1314 March 2006. As the NBA President Price Lanke Odogiyon observed at the NBAs World Press Conference of 9 March 2006: The Federal Capital Territory is replete with instances of court orders restraining the minister of the Federal Capital Territory from demolishing certain structures until the determination of the cases brought before the Courts. We are all living witnesses to the fact that these orders were disobeyed. Indeed, the minister stated that only the president who appointed him could give him orders. He refused to take orders from the courts established by the Constitution that equally established the authority of his boss.

Human Rights, International Law, and Treaty Violations

Arbitrary eviction, lack of proper consultation with the affected inhabitants, failure to provide restitution and compensation, and the use of force outside the principles of necessity and proportionality violate a bundle of human rights and several treaties to which Nigeria is a ratifying party. These acts of commission and omission constitute violations of internationally recognized elements of the right to adequate housing. Nigeria, therefore, is violating Articles 6, 7, 10, 11, 12 and 13 of the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), including duties spelled out in General Comments Nos. 4 & 7 on the human right to adequate housing. Having ratified the ICESCR on 29 October 1993, the State of Nigeria is bound to conduct itself in line with these minimum norms of State behaviour.

The current and the still-planned evictions and demolitions, with their grave consequences, also violate the right to private and family life, the right to access to justice, the right to work and the right to health, as guaranteed in several international and regional human rights instruments that Nigeria has ratified, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria also guarantees some of these rights.

We urge the Government of Nigeria, including the FCDA and other local authorities, to uphold their treaty-based obligations to avoid forced eviction and to provide the affected families with effective remedies. We also urge the government to ensure adequate compensation and alternative accommodation as essential elements of their duty to respect, protect and fulfil the human right
to adequate housing.

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