Nigeria: World Bank 'dragging its feet' on resettlement package after forced eviction

News
February 21, 2014

Nigeria: World Bank 'dragging its feet' on resettlement package after forced eviction

A year after bulldozers razed the homes of 9,000 people in a community meant to benefit from a World Bank funded project in Lagos, the state government and the World Bank are failing miserably to live up to their promise to adequately compensate and resettle them, Amnesty International said.

“Hundreds of women, men and children from the Badia East community have been homeless for a year, with many families separated, children unable to attend school and parents struggling to work,”  said Oluwatosin Popoola, Nigeria Researcher at Amnesty International.

“The community is suffering because of the reckless actions of the Lagos state government and the World Bank’s failure to ensure that those meant to benefit from its projects are not forcibly evicted from their homes.”

Residents of Badia East were not genuinely consulted or given adequate notice before bulldozers and armed police entered the community on 23 February 2013. Most of them had no time to salvage any belongings from their homes before the demolitions began.

Senior officials in the Lagos state government had not even recognised that the 9,000 strong community were living on the site, claiming that the area was a rubbish dump.

However, satellite imagery commissioned by Amnesty International from before and after the eviction clearly shows first, a densely populated area and then, all structures razed to the ground.

Following the forced eviction and pressure from the community and human rights organizations, the Lagos state government, in collaboration with the World Bank, agreed to develop and implement a Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) for the Badia East residents in line with the World Bank’s Resettlement Policy Framework. However, the World Bank has failed to publicly disclose the draft RAP to the residents of Badia East making it impossible for them to have a say on its contents.

The RAP, which should include adequate compensation and livelihood support, has not been finalized yet.

“Families have been suffering the consequences of the forced eviction for a year now and to make matters worse, the Lagos state government has recently reduced the already inadequate compensation package,” said Oluwatosin Popoola.

“It is time the World Bank took some concrete steps to show it is taking responsibility for its failure to ensure compliance of its funded projects with human rights standards and its own safeguard policies.”

Given the dire situation of the forcibly evicted community and the human rights violations they have suffered, the World Bank must ensure that the proposed financial compensation is disbursed to the affected people immediately as emergency financial assistance. It must ensure that the RAP is publicly disclosed, consulted upon with the affected people and that it complies with World Bank and international human rights standards.

Amnesty International has documented a pattern of forced evictions by the Lagos state government.

“The Nigerian government must impose a moratorium on mass evictions until it has adopted legislation to protect people from forced evictions, which are illegal under international law,” said Oluwatosin Popoola.