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Leilani Farha (middle) in Nigeria

UN housing rights expert visits Nigeria

15 September 2019

The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Leilani Farha, is in Nigeria on a visit expected to last from 13 to 23 September 2019.

“I look forward to travelling to the most populous nation in Africa to explore the challenges and opportunities facing Nigeria with regard to its implementation of the right to housing,” the expert said.

Nigeria faces significant housing challenges, including the growth of informal settlements and the forced eviction of communities for development projects.

“I would like to learn more about programmes and policies put in place to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 11.1, which commits governments to ensuring access to safe, affordable and adequate housing and basic services for all by 2030,” said Farha.

“I am particularly interested to learn more about the Government’s recent commitment to build one million homes per year until 2033.”

“Housing affordability, particularly in urban areas, has become an issue of concern worldwide. A contributing factor is housing speculation, which serves to increase housing prices and pushes residents out of their neighbourhoods and cities. I hope to gain an understanding as to whether such trends are also present in Nigeria,” the expert said.

The Special Rapporteur will also examine issues including substandard housing conditions, forced evictions, access to services and to justice for the right to housing and the conditions of particular vulnerable groups including women, people living in informal settlements and those who are homeless.

Farha will meet senior Government officials from the Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, and other ministries. She is also expected to have talks with governors, state-level ministries, and public institutions responsible for human rights, urban development and combating homelessness. The expert will also hold meetings with people living in various neighbourhoods in and around Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt, and representatives of civil society.

The first meeting was held on Friday.

The Special Rapporteur also met today people evicted forcibly from the Otodo Gbame community in Lagos.

At the end of the visit, the Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference to share her preliminary findings and recommendations. It will be at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, 1 Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Abuja at 16:00 local time on 23 September 2019. Access will be strictly limited to journalists.

Farha will present a comprehensive report of her visit to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2020.

This is an edited version of a press release from the UN Office of the Human Rights Commissioner.

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