News Column

Amnesty International Condemns Lagos-World Bank Compensation for Evicted Persons

August 19, 2014

Shola Oyeyipo

The Amnesty International office has expressed disagreement with the compensation package approved for Lagos State by the World Bank for people forcibly evicted from an informal settlement.

The body in a report published yesterday, said: "The World Bank wrongly endorsed a compensation process that was not consistent with international human rights standards or the bank's own policy.

"It is an outrage that a community, left destitute by the actions of the Lagos State Government, has been denied an effective remedy by the same government and that the World Bank has been complicit in this matter," said Audrey Gaughran, the Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International.

She added that "Badia East in Lagos was chosen to benefit from a World Bank-funded project which aimed to increase access to basic services such as drainage, through investment in infrastructure. However, the demolition of at least 266 structures that served as homes and businesses took place without genuine consultation or adequate and reasonable notice and with no remedy for the loss suffered.

"In Badia East, none of the legal and procedural safeguards that are required under international human rights law and standards in relation to evictions was observed. There was no genuine consultation with the affected people to identify alternatives to eviction. The government failed to provide adequate notice, legal remedies, alternative housing for those unable to provide for themselves or compensation for the loss of property.

"After mounting pressure the Lagos state government, in collaboration with the World Bank, agreed to develop and implement a retrospective Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) for the Badia East residents in line with the World Bank's Policy on Involuntary Resettlement. However, both the content of the RAP and the process by which it was prepared contravened international human rights standards and World Bank policy."

According to her, while the RAP was supposed to accommodate provision of options for adequate alternative housing or relocation to other sites; ensure that affected people were offered the support needed to restore their livelihoods and standard of living; ensure adequate compensation was given to those affected, instead only financial assistance of amounts unilaterally determined by the government and considered inadequate by affected people was offered.

Describing the Lagos State Government's compensation as "inadequate" Amnesty International noted that the slum dwellers of Ijora-Badia whose homes were bulldozed on February 23, 2013, did not get compensations commensurate to their losses. She there insisted that destitute victims of forced eviction must be adequately compensated.

"The bulldozing of hundreds of houses and businesses destroyed livelihoods and rendered thousands homeless. The subsequent failure to provide an effective remedy has only compounded victims' misery pushing them deeper into poverty." She urged government to respect the right of people to adequate housing and security as basic tenets of human rights law.

For more stories on investments and markets, please see HispanicBusiness' Finance Channel

Source: AllAfrica

Story Tools Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters