Interaction between Urban ARK and ForPAC: Urban Flood Forecasting in Nairobi


Undefined
Nairobi, off Naivasha Road

The two programmes held a joint urban flooding stakeholder workshop held in Nairobi on 28th September, 2017. Links between researchers on ForPAc and Urban ARK were first established through institutional partnerships:

At Kings College London (KCL) Professors Mark Pelling and Bruce Malamud, and doctoral researcher Bernard Majani, provided initial opportunities for collaboration on urban flood risk. The ForPAc project links with the urban resilience expertise at KCL, bringing this together with local forecasters and data in partnership with the Kenyan Meteorological Department (KMD) through ForPAc.

The urban flood workshop provided the opportunity to further develop partnerships on this issue, linking Urban Ark partners including the Nairobi Risk Partnership, the Kounkuey Design Initiative and Nairobi City County Government officials with ForPAc partners including the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS), 3Di flood mapping and International Water Stewardship Programme representatives.

The stakeholder workshop included a series of short talks that brought together diverse perspectives from across Urban ARK and ForPAc:

Martin Todd, University of Sussex ForPAc Principal Investigator – Introduction to ForPAc

Mary Kilavi, Nairobi County Director KMD – Assessing flood-related risk in Nairobi

Halima Saado, KRCS – flood preparedness planning 2015 & 2016

Mark Ojal, Nairobi City Risk Partnership – raising risk awareness for effective disaster risk management, collaborating with the University of Nairobi and Nairobi City County Government.

Jamilla Harper Kounkuey Design Initiative – flood risks and management in Kibera

Mario Kainga, Water, Sanitation and Energy Director, Nairobi City County – solid waste management, water, sanitation and road and drainage during flood

Abel Omanga, 3Di – flood simulation systems and use for risk management

While flooding is in large part a structural issue related to infrastructure, regulation and planning, with issues of inequalities in wealth and power creating patterns of exposure and vulnerability, it is widely recognised that flood risk assessment and forecasting can play an important role in managing risks.

ForPAc and Urban Ark seek to further discussions between partners to develop ideas and initiatives and build on collaborations through follow-up meetings to develop more comprehensive stakeholder mapping, introduce prototype flood forecast products and move towards planning and training on approaches for Forecast based Action for resilience. 

Blog written by Olivia Taylor, Research Assistant & ForPAc Project Manager School of Global Studies University of Sussex

Standfirst: 

There are a growing number of national and international research programmes in Nairobi focused on disaster risk and climate change. The Urban ARK consortia and ForPAc: Towards Forecast Based Preparedness Action, are interacting in various ways to further strengthen collaboration and synergies for their related research being undertaken in Nairobi. 

Posted in Uncategorized

Interaction between Urban ARK and ForPAC: Urban Flood Forecasting in Nairobi


Undefined
Nairobi, off Naivasha Road

The two programmes held a joint urban flooding stakeholder workshop held in Nairobi on 28th September, 2017. Links between researchers on ForPAc and Urban ARK were first established through institutional partnerships:

At Kings College London (KCL) Professors Mark Pelling and Bruce Malamud, and doctoral researcher Bernard Majani, provided initial opportunities for collaboration on urban flood risk. The ForPAc project links with the urban resilience expertise at KCL, bringing this together with local forecasters and data in partnership with the Kenyan Meteorological Department (KMD) through ForPAc.

The urban flood workshop provided the opportunity to further develop partnerships on this issue, linking Urban Ark partners including the Nairobi Risk Partnership, the Kounkuey Design Initiative and Nairobi City County Government officials with ForPAc partners including the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS), 3Di flood mapping and International Water Stewardship Programme representatives.

The stakeholder workshop included a series of short talks that brought together diverse perspectives from across Urban ARK and ForPAc:

Martin Todd, University of Sussex ForPAc Principal Investigator – Introduction to ForPAc

Mary Kilavi, Nairobi County Director KMD – Assessing flood-related risk in Nairobi

Halima Saado, KRCS – flood preparedness planning 2015 & 2016

Mark Ojal, Nairobi City Risk Partnership – raising risk awareness for effective disaster risk management, collaborating with the University of Nairobi and Nairobi City County Government.

Jamilla Harper Kounkuey Design Initiative – flood risks and management in Kibera

Mario Kainga, Water, Sanitation and Energy Director, Nairobi City County – solid waste management, water, sanitation and road and drainage during flood

Abel Omanga, 3Di – flood simulation systems and use for risk management

While flooding is in large part a structural issue related to infrastructure, regulation and planning, with issues of inequalities in wealth and power creating patterns of exposure and vulnerability, it is widely recognised that flood risk assessment and forecasting can play an important role in managing risks.

ForPAc and Urban Ark seek to further discussions between partners to develop ideas and initiatives and build on collaborations through follow-up meetings to develop more comprehensive stakeholder mapping, introduce prototype flood forecast products and move towards planning and training on approaches for Forecast based Action for resilience. 

Blog written by Olivia Taylor, Research Assistant & ForPAc Project Manager School of Global Studies University of Sussex

Standfirst: 

There are a growing number of national and international research programmes in Nairobi focused on disaster risk and climate change. The Urban ARK consortia and ForPAc: Towards Forecast Based Preparedness Action, are interacting in various ways to further strengthen collaboration and synergies for their related research being undertaken in Nairobi. 

Posted in Uncategorized

Transformative Adaptation in Informal Settlements: The Case of Kounkuey Design Initiative in Kibera, Nairobi


Undefined

Squatter settlements such as Kibera have continued to expand in African cities due to a lack of affordable housing, adequate services, and sustainable urban development policies. Nairobi has grown to have an endemic slum problem, with 60% of the city’s population living in slum settlements characterised by poverty, food and water insecurity, overcrowding, and poor sanitation. Climate change impacts only exacerbate the problem, as settlements such as Kibera are stressed even further by water supply fluctuations and flooding. Focusing on transformative change in development is key to tackling the issues that generate vulnerability in the first place, and towards more equitable and sustainable development pathways. Additionally, special attention needs to be paid to slums, as they become home to an increasing majority of the urban population in developing countries, and are more often than not the frontline of dangerous climate change impacts.

In order to identify the practices, processes and relationships that might strengthen or hinder transformative change, I utilised a relatively new research framework titled ‘adaptation activity space’, developed by some of the leading theoretical minds in the disciplines of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction (Pelling et al, 2015). This framework breaks down an extremely complex issue into seven components, or ‘activity spheres’ – discourse, individuals, behaviour, livelihoods, environment, technology and institutions. Using these components as the starting blocks for my research, I worked to analyse the flows, blockages and interactions within and between them, which either strengthen or hinder transformative change. In order to narrow my research, I focused on the activities of Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI), an NGO that partners and collaborates with impoverished residents in Kibera to design and implement participatory projects, specialising in urban planning, landscaping, architecture and engineering. KDI staff supported my research immensely and in many ways. They welcomed my probing interviews with enthusiasm, and facilitated my interviews with community leaders, often translating Swahili to English. Their passionate input and their depth of knowledge into the intricacies of the many complex problems within informal settlements allowed for an enriching research experience.

In-depth interviews with KDI staff revealed the organisation’s strategies towards implementing transformative change in Kibera, which were many. I also undertook in-depth interviews with Kibera community leaders, which allowed me to gain an insight into the coping mechanisms and adaptation strategies of Kibera’s residents and community groups. Although the scope of my research did not allow me the time nor the resources to also interview local government, participant responses allowed an insight into government activities and interventions. After conducting qualitative analyses of the transformative impacts and/or potential of coping mechanisms and adaptation strategies in Kibera, key recommendations were suggested towards a more transformative agenda in Kibera’s development.

Adaptation in Kibera was found to be conducted in varying degrees by a multitude of individuals, organisations and institutions. The study revealed that most of KDI’s transformative potential lies in their process of participatory community development. This process was found to have strong influences on all ‘activity spheres’, and opens opportunities for transformative development at a local scale. The study also revealed that, while incremental adjustments were the dominant form of adaptation in Kibera, transformative potential can be found within and between all components, again at a local scale. It was suggested that in order to increase the scale of transformative impact in Kibera, and to begin to address the underlying causes of vulnerability, there needs to be increased and improved stakeholder engagement, coordination and collaboration. Ultimately, partnerships between government, community groups and local NGOs are key to transformational change.

 

Pelling, M., O’Brien, K. & Matyas, D. (2015) Adaptation and Transformation, Climatic Change, 133: 113-127.

Standfirst: 

For her dissertation research, Maryrose Bredhauer, a Master’s student from King’s College London, travelled to Nairobi late last year with the aim to explore the scope for transformational adaptation in the urban informal settlement of Kibera slum, one of the largest slums in the world.

Posted in Uncategorized

Transformative Adaptation in Informal Settlements: The Case of Kounkuey Design Initiative in Kibera, Nairobi


Undefined

Squatter settlements such as Kibera have continued to expand in African cities due to a lack of affordable housing, adequate services, and sustainable urban development policies. Nairobi has grown to have an endemic slum problem, with 60% of the city’s population living in slum settlements characterised by poverty, food and water insecurity, overcrowding, and poor sanitation. Climate change impacts only exacerbate the problem, as settlements such as Kibera are stressed even further by water supply fluctuations and flooding. Focusing on transformative change in development is key to tackling the issues that generate vulnerability in the first place, and towards more equitable and sustainable development pathways. Additionally, special attention needs to be paid to slums, as they become home to an increasing majority of the urban population in developing countries, and are more often than not the frontline of dangerous climate change impacts.

In order to identify the practices, processes and relationships that might strengthen or hinder transformative change, I utilised a relatively new research framework titled ‘adaptation activity space’, developed by some of the leading theoretical minds in the disciplines of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction (Pelling et al, 2015). This framework breaks down an extremely complex issue into seven components, or ‘activity spheres’ – discourse, individuals, behaviour, livelihoods, environment, technology and institutions. Using these components as the starting blocks for my research, I worked to analyse the flows, blockages and interactions within and between them, which either strengthen or hinder transformative change. In order to narrow my research, I focused on the activities of Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI), an NGO that partners and collaborates with impoverished residents in Kibera to design and implement participatory projects, specialising in urban planning, landscaping, architecture and engineering. KDI staff supported my research immensely and in many ways. They welcomed my probing interviews with enthusiasm, and facilitated my interviews with community leaders, often translating Swahili to English. Their passionate input and their depth of knowledge into the intricacies of the many complex problems within informal settlements allowed for an enriching research experience.

In-depth interviews with KDI staff revealed the organisation’s strategies towards implementing transformative change in Kibera, which were many. I also undertook in-depth interviews with Kibera community leaders, which allowed me to gain an insight into the coping mechanisms and adaptation strategies of Kibera’s residents and community groups. Although the scope of my research did not allow me the time nor the resources to also interview local government, participant responses allowed an insight into government activities and interventions. After conducting qualitative analyses of the transformative impacts and/or potential of coping mechanisms and adaptation strategies in Kibera, key recommendations were suggested towards a more transformative agenda in Kibera’s development.

Adaptation in Kibera was found to be conducted in varying degrees by a multitude of individuals, organisations and institutions. The study revealed that most of KDI’s transformative potential lies in their process of participatory community development. This process was found to have strong influences on all ‘activity spheres’, and opens opportunities for transformative development at a local scale. The study also revealed that, while incremental adjustments were the dominant form of adaptation in Kibera, transformative potential can be found within and between all components, again at a local scale. It was suggested that in order to increase the scale of transformative impact in Kibera, and to begin to address the underlying causes of vulnerability, there needs to be increased and improved stakeholder engagement, coordination and collaboration. Ultimately, partnerships between government, community groups and local NGOs are key to transformational change.

 

Pelling, M., O’Brien, K. & Matyas, D. (2015) Adaptation and Transformation, Climatic Change, 133: 113-127.

Standfirst: 

For her dissertation research, Maryrose Bredhauer, a Master’s student from King’s College London, travelled to Nairobi late last year with the aim to explore the scope for transformational adaptation in the urban informal settlement of Kibera slum, one of the largest slums in the world.

Posted in Uncategorized

Elijah Agevi Fellowship: Framing a tool to inform adaptive planning and action in low income areas of Nairobi and other rapidly urbanising cities


Undefined

During January Jamilla will be spending time in London with King’s College London and University College to further develop a rapid assessment tool developed by KDI for both local authority and non-governmental application as the basis for integrated and informed adaptive action. KDI is a key partner for the Urban ARK programme in Nairobi and more widely. KDI is a non-profit design and community development organization. Since January 2015, KDI, with the support of SwissRe Foundation has been working to integrate community knowledge of flood risk, vulnerability and adaptive practices with scientific data on flood risk. This work has consisted of multiple elements and methods and the aim of developing the rapid risk assessment tool is to help synthesise and streamline these into a core tool. During her time in London Jamilla will be developing the concept and methodology of the tool and collaborating with colleagues around the RemapRisk, data integration and visualisation and civil engineering elements. The aim is to develop the tool for application and testing in the field in mid-2017 as part of KDI’s ongoing programme in flood risk. Particular application is for assessing risk as the basis for public space and infrastructure projects. The tool also responds directly to requests from local authorities to support risk assessment and needs prioritisation. A broader aim of the fellowship is to examine the potential for applying and integrating local knowledge into development planning for upgrading of public infrastructure in low income areas, including a focus on disaster risk reduction and adaptive action. This fellowship and development of the tool are very closely aligned to Urban ARK’s aims, particularly its collaborative and applied nature.  To find out more about Jamilla’s fellowship please contact her through the KDI Kenya team directly or through the Urban ARK ‘Contact’ page. Watch this space for further updates on the fellowship and tool development! 

Standfirst: 

Urban ARK is delighted to announce Jamilla Harper, Asscoiate Director of Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI), Kenya as an Elijah Agevi Fellow.

Posted in Uncategorized

Elijah Agevi Fellowship: Framing a tool to inform adaptive planning and action in low income areas of Nairobi and other rapidly urbanising cities


Undefined

During January Jamilla will be spending time in London with King’s College London and University College to further develop a rapid assessment tool developed by KDI for both local authority and non-governmental application as the basis for integrated and informed adaptive action. KDI is a key partner for the Urban ARK programme in Nairobi and more widely. KDI is a non-profit design and community development organization. Since January 2015, KDI, with the support of SwissRe Foundation has been working to integrate community knowledge of flood risk, vulnerability and adaptive practices with scientific data on flood risk. This work has consisted of multiple elements and methods and the aim of developing the rapid risk assessment tool is to help synthesise and streamline these into a core tool. During her time in London Jamilla will be developing the concept and methodology of the tool and collaborating with colleagues around the RemapRisk, data integration and visualisation and civil engineering elements. The aim is to develop the tool for application and testing in the field in mid-2017 as part of KDI’s ongoing programme in flood risk. Particular application is for assessing risk as the basis for public space and infrastructure projects. The tool also responds directly to requests from local authorities to support risk assessment and needs prioritisation. A broader aim of the fellowship is to examine the potential for applying and integrating local knowledge into development planning for upgrading of public infrastructure in low income areas, including a focus on disaster risk reduction and adaptive action. This fellowship and development of the tool are very closely aligned to Urban ARK’s aims, particularly its collaborative and applied nature.  To find out more about Jamilla’s fellowship please contact her through the KDI Kenya team directly or through the Urban ARK ‘Contact’ page. Watch this space for further updates on the fellowship and tool development! 

Standfirst: 

Urban ARK is delighted to announce Jamilla Harper, Asscoiate Director of Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI), Kenya as an Elijah Agevi Fellow.

Posted in Uncategorized

Elijah Agevi Fellowship: Framing a tool to inform adaptive planning and action in low income areas of Nairobi and other rapidly urbanising cities


Undefined

During January Jamilla will be spending time in London with King’s College London and University College to further develop a rapid assessment tool developed by KDI for both local authority and non-governmental application as the basis for integrated and informed adaptive action. KDI is a key partner for the Urban ARK programme in Nairobi and more widely. KDI is a non-profit design and community development organization. Since January 2015, KDI, with the support of SwissRe Foundation has been working to integrate community knowledge of flood risk, vulnerability and adaptive practices with scientific data on flood risk. This work has consisted of multiple elements and methods and the aim of developing the rapid risk assessment tool is to help synthesise and streamline these into a core tool. During her time in London Jamilla will be developing the concept and methodology of the tool and collaborating with colleagues around the RemapRisk, data integration and visualisation and civil engineering elements. The aim is to develop the tool for application and testing in the field in mid-2017 as part of KDI’s ongoing programme in flood risk. Particular application is for assessing risk as the basis for public space and infrastructure projects. The tool also responds directly to requests from local authorities to support risk assessment and needs prioritisation. A broader aim of the fellowship is to examine the potential for applying and integrating local knowledge into development planning for upgrading of public infrastructure in low income areas, including a focus on disaster risk reduction and adaptive action. This fellowship and development of the tool are very closely aligned to Urban ARK’s aims, particularly its collaborative and applied nature.  To find out more about Jamilla’s fellowship please contact her through the KDI Kenya team directly or through the Urban ARK ‘Contact’ page. Watch this space for further updates on the fellowship and tool development! 

Standfirst: 

Urban ARK is delighted to announce Jamilla Harper, Asscoiate Director of Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI), Kenya as an Elijah Agevi Fellow.

Posted in Uncategorized

Elijah Agevi Fellowship: Framing a tool to inform adaptive planning and action in low income areas of Nairobi and other rapidly urbanising cities


Undefined

During January Jamilla will be spending time in London with King’s College London and University College to further develop a rapid assessment tool developed by KDI for both local authority and non-governmental application as the basis for integrated and informed adaptive action. KDI is a key partner for the Urban ARK programme in Nairobi and more widely. KDI is a non-profit design and community development organization. Since January 2015, KDI, with the support of SwissRe Foundation has been working to integrate community knowledge of flood risk, vulnerability and adaptive practices with scientific data on flood risk. This work has consisted of multiple elements and methods and the aim of developing the rapid risk assessment tool is to help synthesise and streamline these into a core tool. During her time in London Jamilla will be developing the concept and methodology of the tool and collaborating with colleagues around the RemapRisk, data integration and visualisation and civil engineering elements. The aim is to develop the tool for application and testing in the field in mid-2017 as part of KDI’s ongoing programme in flood risk. Particular application is for assessing risk as the basis for public space and infrastructure projects. The tool also responds directly to requests from local authorities to support risk assessment and needs prioritisation. A broader aim of the fellowship is to examine the potential for applying and integrating local knowledge into development planning for upgrading of public infrastructure in low income areas, including a focus on disaster risk reduction and adaptive action. This fellowship and development of the tool are very closely aligned to Urban ARK’s aims, particularly its collaborative and applied nature.  To find out more about Jamilla’s fellowship please contact her through the KDI Kenya team directly or through the Urban ARK ‘Contact’ page. Watch this space for further updates on the fellowship and tool development! 

Standfirst: 

Urban ARK is delighted to announce Jamilla Harper, Asscoiate Director of Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI), Kenya as an Elijah Agevi Fellow.

Posted in Uncategorized

Justice & Empowerment Initiatives (JEI) Press Article – Lagos Demolitions Emergency


Undefined

The following article is a direct press release and call to action from Justice & Empowerment Initiatives (JEI) Nigeria; a Nigerian Slum / Informal Settlement Federation support NGO. The article documents the recent devastating demolition experience that destroyed the Otodo Gbame Community of Lagos, leaving over 30,000 homeless. 

10 November 2016

Lagos, Nigeria

PRESS RELEASE: OVER 30,000 HOMELESS AFTER POLICE USE DEMOLITION BY FIRE AND BULLDOZER WORKING IN DEAD OF NIGHT DESTROY OTODO GBAME COMMUNITY DESPITE SUBSISTING INJUNCTION

One month after the Governor of Lagos State went to the media announcing the Lagos State

Government’s intention to demolish “shanties” along waterfronts across the state – and just days

after the Lagos State High Court issued an injunction restraining the same – the Nigerian Police

Force and Lagos State Government have moved into Otodo Gbame community in full force.

In the early morning hours of 9 November 2016, a gang of boys with reported ties to the

powerful Elegushi Chieftaincy Family, entered Otodo Gbame community – a peaceful fishing

settlement on the edge of the Lagos Lagoon in Lekki Phase I, made up predominantly of Eguns

and other ethnic minorities in Lagos – and began setting fire to houses in the community.

When police arrived on the scene shortly thereafter, according to eyewitness reports, they began

to lend assistance to the spreading of the fire. They shot into the community and chased away

persons bringing water to quench the fire. They helped to set more structures on fire. Four

persons – two women, one man, and one child – reportedly drowned as they rushed into water.

It was only when help from other Egun communities around Lagos Lagoon such as Makoko and

Oke Ira Nla arrived that residents began succeeding to put out the fire and police turned back.

By the time JEI arrived in the Otodo Gbame, about a third of the community – an estimated 800

structures – had been razed to the ground and fires were still smoldering across the community.

An estimated 10,000 people rendered homeless in a matter of hours tried to recover what

properties they could and dozens of people huddled in boats off the shore of the community.

At least 15 police vehicles were on ground and, around 1:30pm, the Commissioner of Police Fatai

Owoseni arrived on the scene in person for “inspection” and to order the community sealed.

Interviews with affected residents throughout the day confirmed the complicity of the police in

the spreading of the fire and loss of life in the early part of the day. They also indicate that police

are working in tandem with those that initiated the fire to serve private interests of Otodo

Gbame’s wealthier and more powerful neighbors. Residents pointed fingers at the Elegushi

Chieftaincy Family and to the neighboring International Children’s School.

On 7 November 2016 – just two days before – Hon Justice Onigbanjo of the Lagos State High

Court issues an injunction restraining the Lagos State Government and the Lagos State

Commissioner of Police from demolishing waterfront communities – including Otodo Gbame – or

evicting residents therefrom or otherwise giving effect to the 9 October 2016 eviction threat.

As evening fell in Otodo Gbame, tens of thousands of residents – some newly homeless and

some terrified but lucky to still have their homes – tried to get some rest after the wearying day.

JEI-trained paralegals had delivered a copy of the subsisting injunction to the local Ilasan

Divisional Police Station to ensure their awareness and pasted the order around the community.

Shortly after midnight on 10 November 2016, however, JEI received reports from numerous

residents of Otodo Gbame that a bulldozer with an escort of at least four police vehicles had

started working to destroy remaining homes. There has been no indication that our efforts to

notify the Nigerian Police Force at various levels – from Zone II Command to the Complaints

Response Unit (CRU) in the office of the Inspector General of Police – have stopped the

demolition ongoing with blatant impunity and disregard for life and wellbeing of citizens.

According to Edukpo Tina, a young woman in Otodo Gbame interviewed in the early morning of

10 November, “Police came again after midnight with caterpillar [bulldozer] and started breaking

everywhere, putting fire on peoples’ houses. They are seriously beating our people and

threatening to shoot unless we leave. All of us are on top of water now, there is nowhere to go.”

JEI-Nigeria strongly condemns the actions of the Nigerian Police Force and any branches of the

Lagos State Government or private parties at whose behest the NPF may be working. We decry

the extremely false and misleading press release issued by the Nigerian Police Force in the late

afternoon of 9 November 2016 that seeks to characterize the police’s actions as a “rescue,” while

announcing that the community in question will be taken over by the Lagos State Ministry of

Physical Planning and Urban Development and remaining structures will be demolished.

We note that there is absolutely no legal basis for eviction or taking over of land in the aftermath

of either security or fire incident. We further note there have been no statutory or paper notices

whatsoever served on any residents of Otodo Gbame. Rather, the police are acting completely

outside the scope of the law and in overt disregard for a subsisting order of court. We call on all

conscientious citizens concerned for democracy and rule of law to join in condemning this action.

JEI can be contacted directly for further information. Additional details can be found in this recent Reuters article.

Posted in Uncategorized

Justice & Empowerment Initiatives (JEI) Press Article – Lagos Demolitions Emergency


Undefined

The following article is a direct press release and call to action from Justice & Empowerment Initiatives (JEI) Nigeria; a Nigerian Slum / Informal Settlement Federation support NGO. The article documents the recent devastating demolition experience that destroyed the Otodo Gbame Community of Lagos, leaving over 30,000 homeless. 

10 November 2016

Lagos, Nigeria

PRESS RELEASE: OVER 30,000 HOMELESS AFTER POLICE USE DEMOLITION BY FIRE AND BULLDOZER WORKING IN DEAD OF NIGHT DESTROY OTODO GBAME COMMUNITY DESPITE SUBSISTING INJUNCTION

One month after the Governor of Lagos State went to the media announcing the Lagos State

Government’s intention to demolish “shanties” along waterfronts across the state – and just days

after the Lagos State High Court issued an injunction restraining the same – the Nigerian Police

Force and Lagos State Government have moved into Otodo Gbame community in full force.

In the early morning hours of 9 November 2016, a gang of boys with reported ties to the

powerful Elegushi Chieftaincy Family, entered Otodo Gbame community – a peaceful fishing

settlement on the edge of the Lagos Lagoon in Lekki Phase I, made up predominantly of Eguns

and other ethnic minorities in Lagos – and began setting fire to houses in the community.

When police arrived on the scene shortly thereafter, according to eyewitness reports, they began

to lend assistance to the spreading of the fire. They shot into the community and chased away

persons bringing water to quench the fire. They helped to set more structures on fire. Four

persons – two women, one man, and one child – reportedly drowned as they rushed into water.

It was only when help from other Egun communities around Lagos Lagoon such as Makoko and

Oke Ira Nla arrived that residents began succeeding to put out the fire and police turned back.

By the time JEI arrived in the Otodo Gbame, about a third of the community – an estimated 800

structures – had been razed to the ground and fires were still smoldering across the community.

An estimated 10,000 people rendered homeless in a matter of hours tried to recover what

properties they could and dozens of people huddled in boats off the shore of the community.

At least 15 police vehicles were on ground and, around 1:30pm, the Commissioner of Police Fatai

Owoseni arrived on the scene in person for “inspection” and to order the community sealed.

Interviews with affected residents throughout the day confirmed the complicity of the police in

the spreading of the fire and loss of life in the early part of the day. They also indicate that police

are working in tandem with those that initiated the fire to serve private interests of Otodo

Gbame’s wealthier and more powerful neighbors. Residents pointed fingers at the Elegushi

Chieftaincy Family and to the neighboring International Children’s School.

On 7 November 2016 – just two days before – Hon Justice Onigbanjo of the Lagos State High

Court issues an injunction restraining the Lagos State Government and the Lagos State

Commissioner of Police from demolishing waterfront communities – including Otodo Gbame – or

evicting residents therefrom or otherwise giving effect to the 9 October 2016 eviction threat.

As evening fell in Otodo Gbame, tens of thousands of residents – some newly homeless and

some terrified but lucky to still have their homes – tried to get some rest after the wearying day.

JEI-trained paralegals had delivered a copy of the subsisting injunction to the local Ilasan

Divisional Police Station to ensure their awareness and pasted the order around the community.

Shortly after midnight on 10 November 2016, however, JEI received reports from numerous

residents of Otodo Gbame that a bulldozer with an escort of at least four police vehicles had

started working to destroy remaining homes. There has been no indication that our efforts to

notify the Nigerian Police Force at various levels – from Zone II Command to the Complaints

Response Unit (CRU) in the office of the Inspector General of Police – have stopped the

demolition ongoing with blatant impunity and disregard for life and wellbeing of citizens.

According to Edukpo Tina, a young woman in Otodo Gbame interviewed in the early morning of

10 November, “Police came again after midnight with caterpillar [bulldozer] and started breaking

everywhere, putting fire on peoples’ houses. They are seriously beating our people and

threatening to shoot unless we leave. All of us are on top of water now, there is nowhere to go.”

JEI-Nigeria strongly condemns the actions of the Nigerian Police Force and any branches of the

Lagos State Government or private parties at whose behest the NPF may be working. We decry

the extremely false and misleading press release issued by the Nigerian Police Force in the late

afternoon of 9 November 2016 that seeks to characterize the police’s actions as a “rescue,” while

announcing that the community in question will be taken over by the Lagos State Ministry of

Physical Planning and Urban Development and remaining structures will be demolished.

We note that there is absolutely no legal basis for eviction or taking over of land in the aftermath

of either security or fire incident. We further note there have been no statutory or paper notices

whatsoever served on any residents of Otodo Gbame. Rather, the police are acting completely

outside the scope of the law and in overt disregard for a subsisting order of court. We call on all

conscientious citizens concerned for democracy and rule of law to join in condemning this action.

JEI can be contacted directly for further information. Additional details can be found in this recent Reuters article.

Posted in Uncategorized