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Over 30,000 Nigerian dwellers of Slums made homeless

LAGOS, 21 October 2015 (IRIN) – More than a month after security forces chased some 15,000 Nigerians from their homes in Badia East, one of Lagos’ largest slums, thousands of families are still sleeping rough.

The once vibrant community now resembles a disaster zone, with houses and shops reduced to rubble.

Iyabo Benson, a 32-year-old mother of five, was among those who lost their home during the 18 September demolitions.

She, her husband and their children spent three weeks amidst the ruins, sleeping on scraps of cardboard in a small space between two demolished homes, with nothing more than a worn, plastic sheet to shield them from the elements. Then, police came earlier this week and chased them away again.

“When it rains, especially at night, we get very wet and cold,” Benson told IRIN. “My youngest son [who is less than a month old] is ill … because we sleep in the open.”

She also worries about malaria because she no longer has a net to protect the family from mosquitoes.

Former residents say they were given less than 12 hours’ notice, by way of a few posted eviction flyers, before bulldozers rolled in and demolished their community, making it difficult to salvage their meager belongings.

Some residents have since been able to move to other slums, or stay with family and friends, but many families have settled in a narrow, overcrowded piece of public land sandwiched between the demolition site and the main road.

“The fact that the people still remain in the area about a month after their eviction shows that they have nowhere to go,” said Megan Chapman, of the Lagos-based Justice and Empowerment Initiative (JEI), one of several organisations to have condemned the demolitions and consequent “forced evictions.”

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