Megan Chapman: Co-Founder, Justice & Empowerment Initiatives – Nigeria
For more than a quarter century, people of Lagos have been forcibly evicted from their homes – a perverse ‘urban renewal’ that has seen upward of 400,000 residents displaced to make way for luxury developments. But the tide could be turning, after a judge ruled that these forced evictions are cruel and inhuman – and violate the right to dignity.
Just after midnight on Nov. 10, 2016, I received a phone call from Otodo Gbame, a fishing village on the edge of the Lagos Lagoon, located in one of the wealthiest areas of the largest city in sub-Saharan Africa. In panic-stricken tones, a resident and community paralegal named Paul told me that an excavator had just begun demolishing structures on the far side of the community and was rapidly closing in on his home. At least four police vehicles were working alongside the demolition team; I told him I would start making phone calls.