Port Harcourt, Nigeria - Write for Rights 2011

November 15, 2011

Port Harcourt, Nigeria - Write for Rights 2011

Over 200,000 people living in around 40 informal settlements on the waterfront in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, are at risk of losing their homes and livelihoods as part of the state authorities' urban renewal programme for the city. Up to 17,000 people have already been forcibly evicted, when the informal settlement of Njemanze was demolished in August 2009. The aim of this campaign is to prevent any further forced evictions and support the waterfront communities to be genuinely consulted about the development of their local area.

Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, is located in Nigeria's oil rich Niger Delta. In July 2008, the governor of Rivers State announced through a radio broadcast that all waterfronts would be demolished as part of a programme of "urban renewal". The Rivers State government has said that they will buy all the properties in the waterfront,but will not give any entitlements or compensation to property owners who refuse to sell their properties.

In some cases, excessive force has been used by the security forces to suppress those protesting against the planned demolitions. On 12 October 2009, 12 protesters were shot by security forces at Bundu waterfront in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, while taking part in a peaceful demonstration against the demolition of their homes.

Under international law, Nigeria must ensure the right to adequate housing becomes a reality and the state must prevent and refrain from carrying out forced evictions. Waterfront residents have the right to be consulted with and to participate in the design of housing strategies and programmes.

See video