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Amnesty International Condemns Lagos-World Bank Compensation for Evicted Persons

Amnesty International has expressed disagreement with the compensation package approved for Lagos by the World Bank for people forcibly evicted from an informal settlement.

The World Bank endorsed the Lagos state government’s inadequate compensation package for thousands of people forcibly evicted from an informal settlement, Amnesty International said in a report published today.

The report, at the mercy of the government, finds that the residents of Badia East whose homes were bulldozed on 23 February 2013, were not adequately compensated by the government for their losses and that the World Bank wrongly endorsed a compensation process that was not consistent with international human rights standards or the Bank’s own policy.

Audrey Gaughran, director of Global Issues at Amnesty International, stated: “It is an outrage that a community, left destitute by the actions of the Lagos state government, has been denied an effective remedy by the same government and that the World Bank has been complicit in this matter.”

He also said, “The bulldozing of hundreds of houses and businesses destroyed livelihoods and rendered thousands homeless. The subsequent failure to provide an effective remedy has only compounded victims’ misery pushing them deeper into poverty.”

The informal settlement of Badia East in Lagos was chosen to benefit from a World Bank-funded project which aimed to increase access to basic services such as drainage, through investment in infrastructure. However, the demolition of at least 266 structures that served as homes and businesses took place without genuine consultation or adequate and reasonable notice and with no remedy for the loss suffered.

After mounting pressure the Lagos government, in collaboration with the World Bank, agreed to develop and implement a retrospective Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) for the Badia East residents in line with the World Bank’s Policy on Involuntary Resettlement. However, both the content of the RAP and the process by which it was prepared contravened international human rights standards and World Bank policy.

The RAP failed to provide options for adequate alternative housing or relocation to other sites; ensure that affected people were offered the support needed to restore their livelihoods and standard of living; give adequate attention to addressing the needs of all disadvantaged groups; ensure adequate compensation was given to those affected. Instead “financial assistance” which contained amounts unilaterally determined by the government and considered inadequate by affected people was offered. In addition, the Lagos government reneged on an agreement reached between a committee it had established and community representatives on compensation.

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