Lagos demolition may leave thousands homeless

Demolition on a large waterfront slum in the Makoko district of Lagos could leave tens of thousands people destitute.

Residents of Makoko, a shanty town on stilts over the city's lagoon, were given an eviction notice on 12 July by the Lagos state ministry of waterfront, infrastructure and development, which described the dwellings as "unwholesome" and an "environmental nuisance" that undermine the "megacity status" of Lagos.

The occupants were given 72 hours to evacuate the massive slum, which is visible from the bridge that connects the mainland to the more affluent districts on Lagos Island. A BBC correspondent witnessed authorities chopping down the stilts with machetes, in the presence of police.

The Makoko settlement is split between land-based and waterfront areas, with inland residents unaffected by the demolitions.

The slum featured in the 2010 BBC film "Welcome to Lagos", which the Nigerian government accused of portraying Nigeria in a negative light.