The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has expressed strong disapproval of what it characterizes as a series of dehumanizing, degrading, and insensitive demolitions carried out by the Federal Housing Authority in FESTAC Town, Lagos. The rights group asserts that these actions contradict the proclaimed housing agenda of the administration led by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
While acknowledging differing opinions on the validity of the occupancy rights of the demolished houses, HURIWA finds it inconceivable that an administration emphasizing mass housing would simultaneously undertake extensive demolitions without affording residents the opportunity to recover their belongings before the demolition begins.
An anonymous landlord, amidst salvaging iron rods from his partially demolished house, lamented, “My property was completely demolished. Everywhere in the area, houses are being pulled down.” The rights group also highlighted the plight of a member of the Maranatha Prayer Ministry salvaging remnants from a demolished church building, emphasizing the confusing nature of the situation.
HURIWA strongly condemned the Federal Housing Authority’s sporadic, hasty, and inhumane approach, criticizing the speed with which thousands of Nigerian citizens were rendered homeless. The group argues that this lack of discretion in allowing homeowners and residents to retrieve their belongings before demolition constitutes a violation of section 14(2) (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which places the security and welfare of citizens and their property as the government’s primary duty.
In light of these concerns, HURIWA is calling on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to provide compensation to homeowners and residents whose properties were damaged in the demolitions.