Calls to stop forced evictions

Slum dwellers from across Africa have urged their governments to stop forced evictions and work towards...

EWN default image new logo

Slum dwellers from across Africa have urged their governments to stop forced evictions and work towards providing them with adequate shelter and basic services.

"Better housing is not a favour our governments should extend to us, but a right that we deserve to be given like everybody else," said Alhassan Ibn Abdallah, a resident of Old Fadama, the largest informal settlement in Ghana's capital Accra.

Abdallah was speaking at a meeting organised by Amnesty International (AI) in Nairobi, on the sidelines of a ministerial conference on housing and urban development.

"We urge our governments to stop the practice of forced evections, whether carried out by government itself or by private developers. You cannot have development by creating more homeless people," he said.

In Old Fadama, AI estimates that 55,000-79,000 people live without security of tenure and under constant threat of forced eviction, while in Nigeria, at least 20,000 people may be rendered homeless should the government implement its plan to demolish waterfront settlements in Port Harcourt.

Activists from Chad, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt and Zimbabwe have been, since 20 of March, taking part in a week of action dubbed "People Live Here", aimed at highlighting the plight of residents of informal settlements or slums and the need to provide essential services like health, water, education and security to them.

George Amaka from Nigeria said forced evictions normally disrupt the social networks and economic activities of those living in slums, saying the lack of security of tenure creates anxiety among many slum residents.