Slum dwellers protest cancellation of World Bank project in Nigeria

A view of Mokoko, a slum neighborhood in Lagos, Nigeria. Slum dwellers protested the state's decision to suspend a World Bank project to upgrade infrastructure and basic social services for informal settlers in the country's most populous city. Photo by: Rainer Wozny / Heinrich-Boll-Stiftung / CC BY-SA

Development projects get cancelled all the time, and those most affected are the communities targeted by the programs — the poor.

About a hundred slum dwellers on Wednesday protested on the streets of Lagos the decision by the state assembly to suspend a World Bank-funded project to upgrade infrastructure and basic social services for over half a million informal settlers in Nigeria’s largest city.

The program, worth $200 million, began in 2008 despite several delays and the usual disbursement and procurement issues between donor and aid recipient. Local media claims the World Bank decided to not renew funding beyond September and divert the money to other projects after the authorities razed several illegal structures built by squatters which received no compensation for the demolitions.

Led by the Center for Public Opinion Monitoring, a coalition of 20 local civil society organizations, the protesters stormed a meeting of state lawmakers and, according to press reports, urged them to call on World Bank country director Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly to change her mind and extend the project for at least another year.

They also requested for the institution to allow enough time to complete all ongoing projects, currently abandoned at different levels.

So far, the World Bank has ignored those calls and at the same time plans to invest an additional $2 billion in Nigeria in 2014 though its private-lending arm, the International Finance Corp.

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About the author

  • Carlos Santamaria

    Carlos is a former associate editor for breaking news in Devex's Manila-based news team. He joined Devex after a decade working for international wire services Reuters, AP, Xinhua, EFE ,and Philippine social news network Rappler in Madrid, Beijing, Manila, New York, and Bangkok. During that time, he also covered natural disasters on the ground in Myanmar and Japan.

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