In October 2009, waterfront residents were shot at by state security forces while peacefully protesting the planned demolition of their community.
One of those shot that day was Joy, a 17 year old student. Joy has joined other waterfront residents: she is taking the government to court and campaigning for a human city. In her statement to the press at the launch of the case Joy said:
‘We want development, not bullets; we want clean water, not blood; we want a government that values its citizens, not one that shoots its citizens. We want development and justice. This is our right. And so justice now, justice here is our first step. It is a difficult step for me to take, because I was shot in the leg, because I have reason to fear. But I do not fear and I take this step, before you, and I say clearly: We want development; they bring us bullets; we demand justice.’
We celebrate the courage and resourcefulness of people like Joy. We celebrate the vision of a city they are creating. We are asking you to help build this city.
All kinds of people live in the waterfronts of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. At least 200,000, a quarter of the city. Architects, hair dressers, teachers, footballers, shop owners, civil servants, engineers, lawyers, schoolchildren, welders, policewomen, musicians, bank clerks, marine biologists, house painters, pastors, plumbers and politicians.
The waterfronts are a vital part of Port Harcourt’s social, cultural and economic life. For decades fisherfolk, tradespeople, and settlers have come from surrounding communities and made homes on the edges of the creeks that fringe this city. Using dense ‘chicoco’ mud from the mangroves, they reclaimed land from the water’s edge. Today there are schools, timber yards, clinics, churches, boat manufacturers, recycling centres, recording studios and hotels in the waterfronts.
There are a number of really simple ways you can get involved and support the people of Port Harcourt’s waterfronts. Follow our campaign’s progress and join the conversation via Facebook or Twitter, or add your photo to our solidarity wall.