“Everything is gone. My documents, my money. I’m in these clothes since [they demolished]. We’re sleeping there, by our house. Me, my wife and my 3 children. My wife is heavily [pregnant]. I’m trying to find somewhere for them to stay. I’ll stay here again tonight.”
Thousands made homeless by government action
Right now thousands of people in Port Harcourt in Nigeria are sleeping on the streets, in churches, on relatives or friends floors in already cramped and over-crowded conditions. It took 5 days for a Joint Task Force (JTF) of the military, police and other security agents from the State Security Services to demolish of hundreds of houses and leave these families homeless. Take action on Twitter & Facebook now
This eviction went ahead despite a pending court injunction ordering the state to suspend all demolitions in the community and is considered by Amnesty International to be an illegal eviction.
The demolition came following a shooting incident between two rival armed gangs in the community on the night of Monday 25 June The JTF launched an operation to arrest the suspected gang members in the community and later on decided to demolish the houses (635, according to UN Habitat) to prevent a recurrence of the shoot-out.
But rather than solve any crime problems, these demolitions have left women, men and children on the street. It has ruined any opportunity they had to work, to go to school and puts them at huge risk of violence, crime, ill-health and insecurity. It's a stark example of how a human rights abuse drives and deepens poverty for millions.
The Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, is committed to the violent demolitions of the slums of Port Harcourt and santioned the eviction.
“When we want to demolish, the Airforce will deploy helicopters, the navy will move to the areas with gunboats, while the army will have its officers and men on the land, to ensure the demolition is effected and to prevent resistance.”
Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Governor of Rivers State
Help hold the Governor to account, send him a message on Facebook & Twitter
We need you to tell Governor Amaechi to stop the violent evictions of the people of Rivers State, to respect their human rights, and provide emergency accommodation and relief to those currently homeless.
The Governor is a keen user of social media, so target his Facebook page and twitter account with the following messages. You an write one of your own - your own messages will have greater impact but keep it polite!
Our suggested message for the Governor's facebook page:
“Please respect the human rights of the Abonnema Wharf community. Provide urgent emergency accommodation and relief for the women, men and children left homeless by this forced eviction now.”
Our suggested tweets to the Governor
Tweet #PortHarcourt .@ChibuikeAmaechi Respect the human rights of the Abonnema Wharf community. Provide urgent emergency accommodation and relief now”
Tweet #PortHarcourt .@ChibuikeAmaechi Pls respect the Abonnema Wharf Community's right to housing - provide emergency accommodation & support now
Finally - please share this widely with your friends and colleagues - you'll find all the share buttons in the top left.
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