The National Human Rights Commission will be sitting in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, to investigate and adjudicate over the alleged violation of the right to fair hearing, housing, dignity, food, livelihood, adequate standard of living, private and family life, of tens of thousands of residents in the demolished Abonnema, Njemanze and Agip (Eagle Island) waterfront communities, as well as several Ogoni indigenes in Ogoniland.
The hearing which is slated to hold from December 17 to 19, 2014 at the Federal High Court complex, would entertain the four petitions filed on behalf of the affected communities by the Social Development Integrated Centre (Social Action) in conjunction with other civil society organisations.
Also slated for hearing is a petition filed by Social Action in respect of late Maureen Lucky, who was allegedly evicted from a flood relief camp in October 2012 by government officials on account of her HIV-positive status.
Lucky died a few weeks after the forced eviction, leaving behind three children and an aged mother.
The petition was filed on February 13, 2013.
The three-day Hearing of the NHRC would be the third session held in respect of some of the petitions, having initially held two sessions in Port Harcourt (May 2014) and in Enugu (October 2014) respectively.
The Abonnema waterfront community, which comprised of over 63,000 people living in over 600 structures, was demolished between June 27 and July 2, 2012.
The community, situated in Port Harcourt, was home to mainly Kalabari Ijaw people who carried on their farming, fishing, sea faring, boat building and other businesses within and around the community.
The Rivers State Government said it was an urban renewal exercise designed to chase out criminals from the city.
The entire community was demolished, with several persons allegedly arrested and illegally detained by security forces.
The petition was subsequently filed on September 26, 2013.
The Njemanze waterfront community consisted of about 18,000 people who lived and worked in over 375 buildings.
It was a riverine community in Port Harcourt which drew fishermen and fishmongers to settle there because of its proximity to water.
Many of the settlers used cumbersome manual methods to reclaim and develop the wetlands to a level fit for human habitation.
Some also built permanent structures with block and zinc and lived there for decades.
Every structure in the community was demolished by the Rivers State Government between February 9 and August 28, 2009 and the inhabitants were forcefully chased away from their community, without being paid compensation by the government.
After every attempt made by the people to get compensation failed, the petition was thereafter filed by the civil society organisations at the NHRC on May 17, 2014.
Agip (Eagle island) waterfront community comprising Ogoni village, Alhaji village and Ibioma village, had over 30,000 people living and working in at least 842 structures erected in the community.
The villages in the community were situated along both sides of the road running from the gate of AGIP Plc to Eagle Island town in Port Harcourt.
Between December 2004 and April 2005, the government demolished the community after forcibly evicting thousands of residents from their houses.
The petition was filed at the NHRC on March 26, 2014.
In Ogoniland, the forced eviction of Ogoni farmers from their farmlands by the government resulted in dozens of killings, forced disappearances and the burning and looting of hundreds of houses of persons who objected to the eviction