The Abuja High Court judgement declaring the planned demolition of Mpape community illegal comes as a relief to hundreds of thousands of residents of Mpape.
Amnesty International Nigeria said in a statement by its spokesman, Isa Sanusi, that “The judgment which declared that Nigerian authorities have an obligation to refrain from forced evictions and make policies towards realising the right to adequate housing and security of tenure for the residents is a landmark judgment and a victory for housing rights in Nigeria.
“We urge all state governments across Nigeria to take heed of this ruling and take immediate steps to stamp out forced evictions. The ruling is a victory for the residents of Mpape who have lived with fear of forced eviction since 2012.
“Amnesty International, calls for a moratorium on mass forced evictions across Nigeria, until there are laws or regulations in place to ensure compliance with safeguards enshrined in international law.”
Forced evictions are prohibited under international law in all circumstances and even evictions ordered by a court must be conducted according to due process. Consequently, the government must consider all feasible alternatives to an eviction in consultation with all affected people. Any person affected by a proposed eviction must be served adequate written notice, within a reasonable time period. Other due process safeguards must be followed, including the provision of legal remedies and compensation. No one should be left homeless and the government should provide adequate alternative accommodation for those who cannot provide for themselves
In July 2012 the Federal Capital Development Authority department of development control served Mpape residents with notices to quit without having first conducting adequate consultation or offering any alternative options, accommodation or compensation; contrary to the requirements of international law.