Residents of Ifesowapo Community in Lagos Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State, South West Nigeria, are currently counting their days in confusion as they may face eviction any moment from now as several representations made to the state government for upgrading of the community have yielded no result, while government is bent on evicting them.

Emmanuel Nwaglodolu, of Social and Economic Right Action Centre (SERAC), who spoke to the community about legal issues in slum eradication and development, said a slum as defined by UN-Habitat, as a rundown area of a city characterised by sub-standard housing and squalor and lacking in tenure security.

He stated that everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for health and well being of  himself and of his family including food, clothing, housing and medical care.

He cited Article (1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Right of 1966, stating that the state parties to the present covenant recognise the right of every individuals to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing and to the continuous improvement of living conditions.

He also quoted the Nigerian Constitution chapter (1) section 16 (2) as stating that the state shall direct its policy towards ensuring that suitable and adequate shelter and suitable food is provided for all citizens.


Wale Balogun, a human rights activist, said “we must break out of the vicious circle of urban impoverishment and environmental degradation by taking the slum for what it is.”

He advised that the three major players—communities, non-profit organisations and state institutions must seek synergies to defend and promote the common good in the urban sphere.

—Lucky Lawal