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Evictions will spoil Nigeria MDGs progress

23 September 2013, 09:28Augustine Osayande

Abuja - Plans by government to evict thousands of informal settlers in Port Harcourt could reverse the progress the country has made in attaining the United Nations' (UN) Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), Amnesty International warned.

The warning by the prominent international human rights group comes ahead of the UN this week.

The discussions in New York will review progress on the MDGs and set out a new 15 year plan to tackle poverty and sustainable development.

Ahead of the event, Amnesty International argued world leaders risked deepening inequalities, discrimination and injustice if human rights remained side-lined in the post-2015 development agenda.

"For example, according to United Nations Development Programme data, Nigeria has made progress on nearly all of the MDGs goals and there is a strong possibility it will meet many of the targets by 2015.”

"Yet these top-line figures mask regional differences and inequalities and disparities between various groups and minorities," Amnesty International stated on Monday.

"In just one Nigerian city, more than 200 000 people face eviction because the authorities plan to demolish more than 40 informal settlements in Port Harcourt's waterfront area. Thousands will lose their livelihoods as well as their homes if the demolitions go ahead."

The State government intends to demolish the entire 2 square-kilometre radius of Obi-Wali Integrated Cultural Centre, including the Abonnema settlement, so that a private company can "develop" the area for business.
Analysts said previous practice showed that such large-scale forced evictions had the potential to lead to other human rights violations, the use of excessive force, and destruction of homes, informal businesses and family livelihoods.

- CAJ News


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