Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

"800,000 evicted as part of urban plan," Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions, May 15, 2008.

Geneva, Lagos, 15 May 2008:More than 800,000 residents were forcibly evicted from informal settlements in Abuja, Nigeria, from 2003 to 2007, during the administration of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai, according to The Myth of the Abuja Master Plan: Forced evictions as urban planning in Abuja, Nigeria, a new report released by the Geneva-based Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) and the Lagos-based Social and Economic Rights Action Center (SERAC).

COHRE’s Deputy Director, Jean du Plessis, said, “This shocking figure is even higher than the estimated number of people evicted in 2005 during Operation Murambatsvina in Zimbabwe, yet the world has hardly taken notice. COHRE and SERAC urge the current FCT Minister, Dr. Aliyu Modibbo Umar, to make a clear and firm break from his predecessor’s destructive policies that violated the human rights of residents of Abuja and, in many cases, pushed them further into poverty.”

Deanna Fowler, Senior COHRE Research Officer responsible for researching and preparing the report said, “Former FCT Minister El-Rufai and Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) officials created a myth about the Abuja Master Plan to convince people that the Plan justified and necessitated the systematic violation of the housing rights of hundreds of thousands of people so that Abuja would not become ‘another Lagos’. FCT Minister Dr. Modibbo Umar continues to insist that informal settlements must be demolished because their existence is purportedly in violation of the Abuja Master Plan. However, successive administrations have failed to implement key provisions of the Master Plan regarding housing delivery mechanisms designed to facilitate affordable housing for Abuja residents. Instead, they have resorted to forced eviction as a tool of urban planning.”

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