Anger, Despair As FCDA Demolishes Houses In Abuja Community

The aftermath: Apo NEPA, a community in Abuja said to contain over 100 houses was left in ruins after a demolition team visited it in the early hours of Saturday.

 

Residents of a community in a suburb of Abuja were left angry and picking up the pieces on Saturday after the Federal Capital Development Authority demolished their houses.

Officials of the FCDA stormed Apo NEPA in the early hours of the day and the bulldozers they commandeered quickly went to work pulling down buildings that had been deemed illegal.

By the time the bulldozers departed and the exercise, said to have been coordinated by the Chairman of the FCT Task Force on City Sanitation, Ikharo Attah, ended, residents said more than 100 houses had been demolished.

Members of a family try to salvage valuable items from the rubble of their house

 

The exercise is said to have taken place months after the buildings were marked for demolition, according to officials who participated in the exercise. The community, whose residents are the original natives of the FCT, was reportedly on land meant for a road interchange and the residents had been asked to leave.

But the residents disagreed with the authorities and condemned the demolition, especially its timing with several of them telling Channels TV that some people were asleep when the crew arrived. They also said they were brutalised and tear-gassed.

Spokesman for the FCT natives, Yunusa Yusuf, insisted that the residents were not given adequate notice before the exercise was carried out.

According to him, the expected procedure is for the Department of Development Control of the FCDA to give a notice about the demolition.

“Nobody can say here that they came and gave a notice. There was no notice,” he told Channels Television. “Even if they say the people (in the community) settled here illegally, what notices did you give to them? How did you tell them that you were going to demolish their houses?”

Yusuf is also unhappy with the way the people were treated during the exercise.

“If you want to demolish houses, will the government now be the one tear-gassing people as if they are terrorists? How will you wake up by 4 am and by 4 am you have already taken over a community just because you want to access their houses?” he asked.

Anger, Despair As FCDA Demolishes Apo Houses In Community
Yunusa Yusuf, who say he is a spokesperson of FCT Natives, described the demolition as unfortunate and unexpected

 

For Yusuf and many others in the community, the development increases the grievances of the natives of the FCT and exposes them to vices.

“This is the same government that has not been able to stop kidnapping, they have not been able to handle security, but, today, they can bring up to 300 security men to surround this community. It is very unfortunate. It is very unfortunate. This is not what we expect,” a visibly upset Yusuf lamented.

Officials said to be involved in the exercise could not be immediately reached for comments. 

As residents went through the rubble of what was once their homes, several of them stopped to lament about what had happened. Their emotions ranged from anger, disappointment, sadness, and despair.

Several residents said they were not given the chance to get their property out before their houses were pulled down.

 

Some of the residents accused the security officials that came with the demolition crew of preventing them from getting their properties out before they pulled down their houses even though most of them were still asleep when they arrived.

“They can’t just come by 4 am just to demolish everywhere and chase us out. We don’t have access to pack our properties, we don’t have any means of surviving. Can the government live without the poor people?” a resident, who said he is a graduate of accounting but works as a dispatch rider because he couldn’t get a better job, lamented.

A woman backed his position, saying, “We were all sleeping in our houses before they brought caterpillars (bulldozers) with troops of mopols (mobile policemen), they started beating people – women, not even men. The women came out (and) were crying, they fired tear gas… They demolished everything.”

A distraught woman is consoled by another amid the rubble of what was her home and shop.

 

According to the woman, some people were still looking for their children at the time Channels TV visited the scene.

Continuing she said, “Without prior notice, you came at 4 am in the morning to demolish. Are we not Nigerians? Is this Nigeria not our country? After the lockdown, they never brought any palliative into this country. We stayed here for months, they locked us down; no work, no businesses. The next thing is to come and demolish our houses.” 

Residents try to salvage their property.

FCDA Demolishes ‘Patience Jonathan’s Building’

A building belonging to the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, has been demolished by the Federal Capital Development Authority.

The building, located in Mabushi District of the nation’s capital, houses a foundation belonging to Mrs Jonathan.

Lawyer to the former first lady, Mr Emmanuel Anene, said the demolition of the property was unexpected, as the relevant authorities had been shown the building plan.

Anene, who added that the matter was in court, accused the FCDA of disregarding the rule of law and due process in carrying out the demolition.

Kubwa Residents Cry Out Over Refuse Dump

Kubwa Residents Cry Out Over Refuse DumpResidents of Kubwa, a satellite town in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory have been lamenting the continuous dumping of refuse in their community, saying this has become a health hazard to them.

For a while they have had to contend with a heap of refuse which is also few metres away from a private school.

Staffs of the school complained about the daily practice of burning the refuse in the afternoon.

They described the state of the atmosphere and the smell from the refuse, both of which make learning difficult for the pupils.

Asides the health hazards, the refuse site has also become home to scavengers and this, according to the residents, makes it a security threat.

But the chairman of Bwari Area Council, Mr Musa Dikko, explained that the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) has taken over the responsibility of clearing the refuse.

“The FCD has already accepted our report and have taken charge of both sites and they have assured us it is already considered for contract so that it can properly be evacuated.

“As at now it has gone beyond the council’s strength,” he told Channels TV.

He also charged the residents to take the responsibility of stopping indiscriminate dumping of refuse within their area.

Senate Orders Revocation Of Re-allocated FCT Plots

dino melaye
Chairman, Senate Committee on FCT, Senator Dino Melaye

The Senate Committee on FCT has called for the immediate revocation of plots of land that were allegedly reallocated by the Federal Capital Development Authority, (FCDA) to some members of the National Assembly.

This was revealed by the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Dino Melaye during the hearing of a petition filed by Falana & Falana Chambers, on behalf of Immanuel Investment Limited.

Senator Melaye said the committee discovered from investigations, that after some houses were demolished along Lugbe, a satellite town in Abuja, the plots of land were allegedly reallocated to some senators and members of the House of Representatives in the 7th Assembly.

Army Chiefs Warn Of Security Threat In Abuja

Military officers from the West Africa sub-region have pointed out that the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is under immense security threat owing to the increasing population in the city’s satellite towns.

Leading a team of 29 officers on a study tour to the FCT, Air Commodore Gambo Ilyasu, said information gathered from the six area councils revealed that hundreds of people migrate into the nation’s capital on a daily basis without anywhere to settle.

The FCT Administration, according to him, already has issues of resettlement of indigenes which has raised a lot of discontent among some communities.

He, therefore, warned that the disturbing trend should not be handled with levity.

The executive secretary of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Mr. Adamu Ismaila, however gave the assurance that the issue of security is under control and there would be no replication of the Niger-Delta scenario as plans were on-going to resettle the indigenes within the FCT.

FCT Minister affirms plan to demolish 31 estates in Abuja

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr Bala Mohammed has vowed that the FCT Administration would go ahead with the demolition of 31 housing estates in Lugbe, a satellite town in the nation’s capital.

The Minister who made the affirmation made this known while defending the FCT’s 2013 budget, where he stated that his administration would make good its threat to demolish the estates despite an order by the Senate Committee on FCT that the FCT Administration stop its plans to demolish the estates.

However the Chairman, Senate Committee on FCT; Senator Smart Adeyemi disagreed with the Minister insisting that the FCT Administration has not done all it can to prevent the proliferation of illegal houses in the FCT.

On Saturday the 28th of September 2012, officials of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) rolled out their bulldozers and demolished 500 units of Minanuel Estate.

The joint committee on FCT has said it would dig deeper into the issue to find a solution.

Patience Jonathan, Turai Yar’Adua to settle land dispute out of court

A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court Sitting in Bwari Area Council has ordered Hajia Turai Yar’Adua, wife of late President Yar’Adua and the current First lady, Dame Patience Jonathan to report back to court over the out of court settlement on a disputed 1.84 hectares of land in Abuja.

The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister Of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, had informed the presiding judge of the court,  Justice Peter Affen, that the Federal Government has made arrangement for an out of court settlement.

The disputed land, plot no. 1347 Cadastral Zone AOO, Central Business District, Abuja, FCT was initially allocated to Women and Youth Empowerment Foundation (WAYEF) while Mrs. Yar’adua was First Lady.

The Minister of the FCT, Bala Mohammed revoked the allocation for what he described as “overriding public interest” and reallocated the same land to Mrs. Jonathan for the building of African First Lady Peace Mission Headquarters on the 2nd of November, 2011.

Mrs. Yar’Adua complained that the land allocated to WAYEF on 19 February 2010 was being trespassed upon by Mrs. Jonathan and got a court order dated 5 March 2012 restraining the defendants from affecting WAYEF title and interest over the land.

Those joined as co-defendants in the suit are the Minister of FCT, Federal Capital Administration and the Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS).

Reacting to the plea for an out of court settlement, Mr. Lagi Innocent, Counsel to WAYEF confirmed to the court that his clients have been approached for an out of court settlement but added that this was not the first time the defendants were making such moves.

He mentioned that WAYEF had already began the process of notice of committal to prison on the defendants by filing forms 48 and 49 adding that it was unfortunate that people could no longer trust the government in the country.

While adjourning the case to 24 September 2012 for report of settlement, Justice Affen “advised parties that the nature of the case is such that if parties can reach amicable settlement it would be better for all sides.”

 

FCDA set to demolish multi-billion Naira Saraha estate in Abuja

Property owners in the Saraha Estate located at the Kafe district, Kuchibena in the Gwarimpa area of Abuja are on the verge of having their homes demolished.

The 350 units of houses in the Estate have been marked for demolition with each of housing units valued at about N200 million.

A top official in the Development Control Unit of the FCT, Mr Nathaniel Atebije has revealed that property developers who sold plots to the residents did not secure approval before developing the property.

The residents however claim they invested in the estate based on the assurances given to them by the developers and that they have approval of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA).

The mark of demolition is an investor’s nightmare as the common sign in the FCT where the administration does not spare anyone if the building does not comply with the master plan or is without approval.

Affected residents appeal for consideration on the ground that the problem is not because the estate does not comply with master plan but a question of irregular paperwork.

Cyril Okeke, a property owner in the lamented that “such a situation could have been avoided if the developers had done their homework four years ago.”

The CEO, Saraha Homes Alhaji Kabiru Haruna, who is the estate developer, explained that the problem arose from changes in the FCTA that led to the revocation of initial approvals after they had commenced development in the area.

As it stands now the only way this estate can be saved is with the regularization of approval documents otherwise, billions of Naira will go down the drain.

This whole episode calls for caution on the part of developers to secure approval from the relevant bodies before selling off plots.

Aspiring property owners also need to be thorough with details before parting with hard earned money.

 

Women protest planned demolitions in Mpape

A number of protesters on Monday stormed the Federal Secretariat in Abuja to protest plans by the FCT administration to demolish their houses in Mpape, a satellite town in the FCT.


The protesters mostly women accused the FCT administration of planning to make them homeless.

The women tried to take their protest to the National Assembly but were barred from getting there.

They however gathered at the secretariat not minding the blistering sun to protest the danger they stand of losing their homes.

Mpape is a satellite town in the Federal Capital Territory and officials of the Federal Capital Development Control on Sunday marked their houses for demolition.

Defying security agents who stopped the protesters from reaching the National Assembly, the women stood their ground and tried to get the attention of any and every one.

Channels Television took a trip to Mpape and confirmed that many houses in the area are already marked for demolition.

But the Director Development Control, Yahaya Yusuf explained to Channels Television that the houses marked for demolition, are illegal structures.

He also said previous attempts to relocate people whose houses were demolished have not been successful.

The protesters said the Federal Capital Territory Development Agency (FCDA) has given them a 21 day notice to move out of their houses.

This is not the first time the FCT authorities have embarked on massive demolition exercises in the nation’s capital.

The FCT authorities have however being criticised for not doing anything with the land after the bulldozers leave, leaving the land bare.

Senate queries FCDA over revenue generation

Senate President David Mark has queried the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCDA) over its inability to generate internal revenue.

Speaking during the debate on the 2012 FCT Appropriation Bill, Senator Mark decried the absence of a clearly defined revenue generation profile by the FCT in 2012 and said the FCT administration must embark on massive revenue drive.

Senator Mark also condemned the failure by the FCT administration to pay compensation to indigenes whose lands were taken over by government.

Presenting the 2012 FCT appropriation bill of N306.499 billion, Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba said the thrust of the budget is on the completion of ongoing districts and roads within the territory.

He also listed the other areas to include improvement of water supply, rehabilitation of public schools, health facilities as well as expansion of infrastructure in the satellite towns.

Mark noted that it was embarrassing that 35 years after the creation of Abuja, Nigerians are still talking about resettlement and compensation of indigenes of the area.

He noted that it was either the issue had not been adequately dealt with or there were fraudulent activities involved in the resettlement and compensation of indigenes.

Mark asked the committee on FCT to look into the matter to avoid a situation where funds were budgeted for the same purpose every year.

He said: “It is actually an embarrassment that 35 years after the establishment of Abuja we are still talking of compensation and resettlement of indigenes of Abuja.

“I think truly either we have not seriously addressed the issue or there is a big fraud in it and I think the committee must look into this and make sure that in 2013 we are not talking about compensation for Abuja indigenes.”

On revenue generation Mark said: “I have not seen any aggressive revenue profile.

“They have not shown that they are going to generate enough revenue internally and Abuja is in a position to do that much more than any other city today.

“They have to embark on serious taxation and because of the calibre of people who move into Abuja, if they carry out enough taxation, they should be able to generate enough revenue.”

Leading the debate on the FCT 2012 appropriation bill, Victor Ndoma-Egba explained that out of the appropriated sum, N42.9 billion is for personal cost while N44.7 billion is for overhead cost.

Egba also stated that the sum of N219.5 billion would be spent on capital projects while the transport sector received the sum of N45.4 billion, which is higher than any amount allocated to any sector.

Other senators who contributed to the debate threw their weight behind the recommendations. In his contribution, the deputy senate leader, Ike Ekweremadu emphasised the need for more facilities to boost the infrastructural development in the FCT.

The senators also lamented the deplorable state of most infrastructures in the territory.

Senator Dahiru Sukuta of Niger State said: “Abuja is a dirty city, not much is being done to keep the city clean.”

Emmanuel Paulker of Bayelsa State added that “facilities in hospitals and public schools in the FCT are fast deteriorating and need to be worked on for better healthcare and education.”

Ayogu Eze expressed hope that the 2012 budget will mark the restoration of the Abuja master plan, improve sanitation and remove street traders from the city as their menace is becoming unbearable.

Senator Mudashiru Husian, however, strongly questioned some aspects of the budget, stressing that most projects captured in the 2011 budget are reappearing in the 2012 budget but with different amounts.

Mark, while ruling, advised the FCT administration to develop the satellite towns to ease the over stretching of amenities in the centre.