Nigerian authorities have begun demolishing
the biggest slum dwelling in the country’s largest city, Lagos.
Makoko slum was home to nearly 100,000 people, mainly fishermen, sand harvesters and timber traders who lived in shacks built on stilts.
It is easily visible from the city’s longest bridge which connects the mainland to the city’s business district on Victoria Island.
The slum was favoured by first time job seekers in Lagos but for others like Pascal Agosu, an International Relations university student, Makoko had been their home since childhood.
He believes the government has trampled over people’s human rights: “If the government wants to make use of this place, why can’t the government inform these people officially. Or does that mean these people are no people at all,” he said.
The government says the demolition is part of its efforts to clean up and modernise the densely populated city.
The Lagos government says the commercial capital is set to experience a demographic explosion over the next decade, and anticipates a population that could reach 40 million from the current 16 million.
The city is also expanding its roads, water-ways and is constructing several light railways to ease traffic congestion
But most of the slum dwellers claim they were unprepared for the action even though officials say residents had been given 72 hours notice to evacuate the area.