The state government ordered that demolition begin on the waterfront on Monday after the 72-hour quit notice given to the nearly 300,000 residents in the community lapsed.
The notice cited the need to “protect lives and property” as well as create “legitimate economic opportunities on the waterfront” as major reasons for the evacuation. The state government is also eager to “beautify the Lagos coastline”.
The Makoko settlement consists of rows of shanties perched on stilts in the lagoon of Lagos, one of the world’s largest cities with an estimated population of roughly 15 million.
Many residents are angry at being forced to leave their homes when they have been given no where else to go. Community leaders say those who no longer have homes are now living in boats on the water. Some were seen sleeping on floors on stilts above water, with nothing but a tarp for covering.
Makoko, dubbed the Venice of Lagos, is home to hundreds of thousands, community leaders say – fish farmers, residents and foreigners have made their homes in Makoko.
They promise to take action before the demolition is over.
Olusegun Oniru, commissioner for waterfront in Lagos told reporters that the government’s utmost concern is the averting disaster and removing the eyesore of shanties.
“A lot of people, tourists use the Third Mainland bridge in Lagos and part of what they see is the Makoko slum,” Oniru told reporters.