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Eyes on Nigeria: Forced Evictions

>Forced Evictions
Conflict in the Niger Delta
Communal Conflict
Industrial Gas Flaring
Petrochemical Spills

I. Introduction

Port Harcourt is a sprawling port city along the Bonny River, a tributary of the Niger, and is the capital of Rivers State. The center of the Nigerian oil industry, Port Harcourt has a population of approximately one million, a significant number of whom live in slums along the city waterfront. According to information provided by Amnesty International, a number of demolitions along the waterfront were planned by the Rivers State Government in 2009 for the purposes of redevelopment. In July 2010, AAAS obtained high-resolution satellite imagery of the waterfront slums, focusing on the neighborhood of Njemanze, which had been reportedly destroyed on August 28, 2009. Through the use of orbital imagery, AAAS was able to confirm the demolition of the Njemanze neighborhood.

Figure 1.1: Port Harcourt, Nigeria Study Location

II. Results

AAAS obtained high-resolution satellite imagery of Njemanze for February 19, 2008 and February 7, 2010. The first image was provided by DigitalGlobe, Inc. and its QuickBird satellite. The latter was acquired by GeoEye, Inc.’s Ikonos-2 satellite. Figure 1.2 shows a fully intact Njemanze on February 19, 2008 while Figure 1.3 shows the same area post-demolition, on February 7, 2010. Figure 1.4 depicts a damage assessment of the area, provided by AAAS, which conservatively estimates the destruction at 375 structures. The final figures, 1.5 and 1.6, are subsets of an area within Njemanze along the Ikwerre Road.

Figure 1.2: Njemanze in 2008


The Njemanze waterfront neighborhood on February 19, 2008. Structures are concentrated between Njamenze Street to the north, Ikwerre Road to the east, and the waterfront along the southern edge. Image © 2010 DigitalGlobe, Inc. Lat: 4.785 N, Long: 7.002.


Figure 1.3: Njemanze Post-Demolitions


By February 7, 2010, nearly all the structures seen in Figure 1.2 have been removed or destroyed. Image © 2010 GeoEye, Inc. Lat: 4.785, Long: 7.002.


Figure 1.4: Damage Assessment


Structures counted in the pre-demolition image (red points) are overlaid on post-destruction imagery from February 7, 2010. Approximately 375 structures appear to have been removed or destroyed between 2008 and 2010. Image © 2010 GeoEye, Inc. Lat: 4.785, Long: 7.002.


Figure 1.5: Subset of Njemanze Waterfront


This subset of the area near Ikwerre Road, from February 19, 2008, depicts many intact structures. Image © 2010 DigitalGlobe Inc. Lat: 4.783, Long: 7.003.


Figure 1.6: Subset of Njemanze waterfront


In this image from February 7, 2010, the majority of structures in this area have been removed or destroyed. Areas of white in the image outline where structures previously stood. Vegetation is beginning to cover the ground in the months after the structures were removed. Image © 2010 DigitalGlobe, Inc. Lat: 4.783, Long: 7.003.


III. Conclusion

Between February 19, 2008 and February 7, 2010, at least 375 structures were removed from or destroyed on the Njemanze waterfront. An assessment of the images reveals that the footprints of only a few structures remain. The demolition of Njemanze is estimated by UN-HABITAT to have displaced approximately 13,800 people, according to a report by Amnesty International. These figures suggest a high density of roughly 37 persons per structure. Further demolitions are planned in the area. Amnesty International and AAAS will continue to monitor these developments.

A PDF of Eyes on Nigeria: Technical Report is available here.