Tim McDonnell

Multimedia environmental journalist

NPR: Slum Dwellers In Africa's Biggest Megacity Are Now Living In Canoes

In Lagos, waterfront slums are the front line of an ongoing battle over the rights of the poorest residents.

Salako Hunsa lives in a canoe in the Makoko waterfront settlement in Lagos, Nigeria. His home was burned down last month. (Tim McDonnell)

Salako Hunsa lives in a canoe in the Makoko waterfront settlement in Lagos, Nigeria. His home was burned down last month. (Tim McDonnell)

This story first appeared on National Public Radio.

At 5:30 a.m. on April 9, Salako Hunsa awoke to the sound of gunfire. He left his wife and five children inside the house, and ran out to a shocking scene: A squad of police officers shooting indiscriminately and setting fire to his neighbors' homes.

"I had to run for my life," Hunsa says.

By the time the sun rose, the neighborhood was leveled, thousands of people were homeless and one young man was dead. The attack was a dramatic turning point in an ordeal that for Hunsa and thousands of his neighbors is far from over.

Hunsa was a lifelong resident of Otodo Gbame (pronounced BOM-ay), an informal waterfront settlement in Lagos, Nigeria, that is the front line of an ongoing conflict over the rights of some of the city's poorest residents.

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