|Demolition of Owonifari market P.Courtesy|
• Tell the victims what their business premises will be used for after demolition which must be for public good and nothing less.
• Consult stakeholders about possible alternatives to the demolition and consider all options they will put forward
• Give the affected people adequate notice when the demolition will take place in writing or in a way that will be easily understood by them
• Allow the key players enough time to list any possession or wages they will lose due to the demolition and compensate them
• Give them adequate opportunity and time to challenge the demolition in the court, tell them about all the legal remedies and provide legal aid if they need it
• Consult those about to be evicted on the location they might be moved to before the demolition
• Provide those to be evicted with documents confirming they can use the new location
• Make sure that those evicted can afford to trade in the place provided and provide the essential services
The demolition of Owonifari market by the Lagos state government without adherence to due process is a clear violation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Fundamentally, international human rights law, corroborated by the African Charter observes that evictions can only be seen as lawful if they are considered to be necessary mainly in “exceptional circumstances.” And when such “exceptional circumstances” are real, due process has to be followed which ensure that all possible alternatives are worked out together with the persons affected. Where demolition occurs without due process it is regarded as forced eviction.
By Liberty Oseni
Arm of Hope Foundation