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Introduction This report documents the systematic pattern of forced evictions and house demolitions in Nigeria, perpetrated by both city planners and security forces, in the name of “improving national security”. Areas inhabited by the poor are often labeled as hideouts of the dreaded Islamic fundamentalist sect, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, also known as Boko Haram, and on that basis, are punitively demolished without recourse to due process, inflaming the population of un-housed and inadequately housed persons in Nigeria. Majority of these security-linked demolitions occur in the northern part of the country where the extremist sect has its traditional base. In addition to providing a normative analysis of the scale and consequences of punitive demolitions and the resulting displacement, this report critically examines the effectiveness of using house demolitions as a strategy for deterring terrorism in northern Nigeria. It further looks into the legal and human rights implications of the surge in state-sponsored violation of housing rights and other social and economic rights, including the right to life, property, health, family life, work, education and food. For instance, in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city where a renewed wave of forced evictions and demolitions have resulted in massive destruction of public/private dwellings and large-scale displacement, there was overwhelming evidence showing that the evictions were executed in utter disregard of the fundamental human rights of the citizens as espoused under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other international human rights instruments to which Nigeria is a party. The Abuja demolitions, especially the Gosa 1 village demolitions brazenly disregarded the FCDA’s policy to provide full resettlement to indigenes. The Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) continues to threaten both indigenous communities and informal settlements with evictions in furtherance of the “proper implementation of the Abuja Master plan’ and in the “interest of national security”. The settlements targeted with forced evictions are home to native farmers, firewood cutters, civil servants, and other low-income earners working in unskilled, unprotected and low-wage informal service industries and trade. The rapidity with which new housing estates are springing up in the demolished areas is also fuelling speculations that the demolitions are not unconnected with pressures from diverse economic interests involving wealthy individuals, foreign investors and corporate developers who are very keen to take over the lands of the poor. In addition to profiling the specific impacts of the counter-terrorism and deterrence strategies employed by Nigeria’s security forces on vulnerable groups such as women, children and the youth, the report concludes with an analysis of the legal provisions that afford protection to both the evicted and those threatened with evictions. Ultimately, this report accentuates SPACES FOR CHANGE’s finding that for every home demolished, the foundations of peace are further threatened. Nevertheless, we remain optimistic that a rich mix of policy support, technical assistance and capacity building can be combined with effective monitoring to develop alternatives to forced evictions and displacements, and to promote the right to adequate housing, as outlined in the United Nations Habitat Agenda.

DEMOLISHING FOUNDATIONS OF PEACE

SPACES FOR CHANGE

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DEMOLISHING FOUNDATIONS OF PEACE  

This report critically examines the effectiveness and human rights implications of using house demolitions to deter terrorism in Northern N...

DEMOLISHING FOUNDATIONS OF PEACE  

This report critically examines the effectiveness and human rights implications of using house demolitions to deter terrorism in Northern N...

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