Government burns down slum, 50,000 displaced in Nigeria
[For many years the LLCO has been discussing the growth of slums across the world. The migration of the oppressed from the countryside to the city has created a new set of challenges for Communists as the majority of the world’s population now lives in urban centers. In Nigeria the government has decided that these slums have become too dangerous. The government fearing the kidnapping of children, decided to burn down the homes of 50,000 people. They literally burned the village in order to save it. With continual displacement of Third World peoples it is clear that refugees will be a source of revolutionary power. Therefore Communists must be prepared for the challenges that a global refugee diaspora will create. These refugees will speak many languages, have different cultures and values, will be constantly moving, and will all be packed together in slums and refugee ghettos in the First World (ex: The Jungle camp in France) and elsewhere. The LLCO needs to be ready to organize these refugees into revolutionaries. -El Condor]
Lagos (AFP) – Thousands of residents of a Lagos waterfront community marched on the local governor’s office Tuesday to protest the demolition of their homes, part of a growing drive to clear out shanties around Nigeria’s commercial hub.
At least three people died last week in the fishing community of Otodo Gbame, after police moved in with no notice, setting fire and chasing some people into the Lagos lagoon, according to residents.
Some 2,000 of them including women and children trekked to state Governor Akinwumi Ambode’s office Tuesday, barricading its doors and saying they planned to rally until their demands were met.
“We condemn the forced evictions of over 30,000 hard-working, law-abiding citizens from Otodo Gbame and thousands more from Ebute-Ikate on 9-11 November 2016,” they said in a letter.
“We in particular condemn the use of fire, demolition in the middle of the night and the tragic loss of lives of persons who drowned when chased by police into the Lagos lagoon.”
The government warned last month it would clear shanties from the sprawling city of 20 million people because of security concerns.
Such operations have occurred in the past, but have accelerated since the new governor arrived last year, and very regularly since the new warning.
The government believes kidnappers hid in shanties to abduct school children. Several school children have been kidnapped around the city’s riverine communities in recent weeks.
Amnesty International urged the government to halt the demolitions, fearing thousands might be made homeless, but the government still went ahead with the exercise at Otodo Gbame.
The residents, carrying placards and chanting protest songs, accused the government of using the police and hoodlums to destroy their homes without any prior notice.
Contacted by AFP, the Lagos State authorities have refused to give any comment so far.
Megan Chapman of the Justice and Empowerment Initiatives (JEI) lobby group, which helped organise the rally told AFP that three corpses were recovered from the lagoon after the demolition, while 11 people were still missing.
“The 11 missing people are presumed to be dead. We want government to halt the demolitions which have rendered thousands homeless,” she said.
“Since November 11, evictees are facing a grave humanitarian disaster without shelter, access to clean water, food and other basic needs,” said Sani Mohammed of the Nigerian Slum/Informal Settlement Federation.
“We are here to appeal to Governor Ambode to provide reliefs to those affected by the demolition and to compensate them for the loss of their homes,” he said.
The protesters became unruly and angry when the governor failed to come out to address them.
They immediately set barricade at all entrances into the government house and vowed to continue the rally until their demands were met.
“Otodo is my ancestral home. My parents lived there for years before they died. I don’t know where else to go,” said Celestine Ahisu, a self-employed engineer and father of three children.
Beatrice Keyimon, 25-year-old fish seller told AFP she has been sleeping inside her canoe with her three children since she lost her home.
“We could not salvage anything. The area boys came like a thief in the night and set everywhere including our house ablaze,” she lamented.