By Nangayi Guyson – Lagos -BBC- Nigeria’s government plans over mass evictions in the oil-rich Niger Delta has been criticized by the rights group Amnesty International warning that continued development may leave as many as 200,000 people homeless.
In 2009, the Rivers State government began plans to rebuild parts of the city.
They are demolishing slums on the waterfront as part of the “Greater Port Harcourt master plan”. But Amnesty says Plans for urban development and slum demolition have been a violently contested issue in Port Harcourt.
Forced evictions regularly spark demonstrations there and police have even fired live rounds at protesters. Several civilians have been killed.
Former resident sits on the rubble that is her former home at Njemanze, in Port Harcourt For some, the demolitions have already begun
Its towns and slums are home to tens of thousands of people all scraping a living in a city pumping billions of dollars worth of oil but t he local government hopes to develop the area to create jobs, stimulate the local economy and build better roads – all of it urgently needed.
They hope to build an eight-screen cinema, a shopping mall and hotels.
They are following a buy-out scheme, paying those who own the properties to move.
But most of the residents on the waterfront are poor tenants who get no compensation and have nowhere to go.
Many of them now sleep outdoors under bridges and in the streets.
“These planned demolitions are likely to plunge hundreds of thousands of Nigeria’s most vulnerable citizens further into poverty,” said the group’s Africa deputy programme director, Tawanda Hondora.
“The government should halt the waterfront evictions until they ensure they comply with international human rights standards.” 4