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Nigeria Eviction Plan May Leave 200,000 Homeless, Amnesty Says

A state government’s plan to tear down waterfront slums in Nigeria’s southern oil-industry hub of Port Harcourt may leave more than 200,000 people homeless, Amnesty International said in a report released today.

The Rivers State government’s urban renewal program doesn’t include plans to resettle residents evicted from settlements that would be demolished, the London-based human rights group’s report said.

“These demolitions are likely to plunge hundreds of thousands of Nigeria’s most vulnerable citizens into further poverty,” Tawanda Hondora, the rights group’s deputy Africa program director, said in a statement. The Rivers State information commissioner, Ibim Semenitari, didn’t immediately respond to telephone messages seeking comment.

The largest city in Nigeria’s oil region, Port Harcourt is a base for international energy companies operating in nearby onshore and offshore oil fields. Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer.

Demolition of a settlement in Port Harcourt known as Njemanze in 2009 resulted in the displacement of more than 13,000 people, Amnesty International said.

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