In Lagos, Creating Homeless is a Sign of Progress

Adam Nossiter reports on the latest episode in Lagos's quest to become a "premier business center" - the demolition of the Badia East slum, which instantly left 10,000 residents homeless.
March 4, 2013, 2pm PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Under Lagos’s energetic governor, much lauded in the international financial media, this crowded megalopolis of high rises, filthy lagoons, fierce traffic jams and sprawling slums, home to perhaps 21 million people, has proclaimed its ambition to become the region’s, if not Africa’s, premier business center," writes Nossiter.

"In this gleaming vision, the old Lagos of slums has an uncertain future. Two-thirds of the city’s residents live in 'informal' neighborhoods, as activists call them, while more than one million of the city’s poor have been forcibly ejected from their homes in largely unannounced, government slum clearances over the last 15 years, a leading activist group says."

The latest such clearance came last Saturday, as the government demolished some 500 residences with scant notice, "instantly making homeless perhaps 10,000 of Lagos’s poorest residents and destroying a decades-old slum, Badia East," reports Nossiter. "For days, residents wandered the chaotic rubble-strewn field, near prime Lagos real estate."

"They were dazed and angry. Small children slept on the muddy ground. Men climbed the mounds of rubble, searching. In intense heat, women, men and children said they were hungry and sleeping outside. The government had destroyed their present, they said, without making any provision for their future."

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Published on Friday, March 1, 2013 in The New York Times
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