A lady has reportedly run mad, after her home was demolished in Lagos. Thousands of people fled Nigeria’s largest informal fishing settlement on Friday as security forces used gunfire and tear gas to make way for demolitions in defiance of a recent court order, rights groups said, describing it as a “violation of human rights”.
The homes of nearly 4,700 people in the Otodo-Gbame community in Lagos were destroyed on Friday, despite a previous court order that halted such evictions, according to Amnesty International and Lagos-based group, Justice and Empowerment Initiatives (JEI).
Otodo-Gbame residents said they had no warning their homes were going to be demolished. “We were so surprised. We didn’t know where they came from,” Paul Kunnu said. “They pulled down everything.”
Megan Chapman, co-director of JEI, who arrived at the community shortly after the demolitions began, said police used live bullets to disperse the crowds.
In November of last year, an estimated 30,000 residents from the community were evicted to make way for development projects, rights groups said. Rights groups have said more than 300,000 people are at risk from eviction from Lagos waterfront communities.
But after a court injunction issued in January halted evictions, many of the residents decided to rebuild. “We don’t have any other place to go,” Celestine told Al Jazeera. “We are a fisherman community and have been here for hundreds of years.”