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.

Bomb scare causes pandemonium in Abuja

The Wuse Zone 5 area of the FCT was thrown into pandemonium, at midday on Friday as a bomb scare forced the evacuation of offices and buildings in the commercial area of the nation’s capital.

A recent bomb scare at the NNPC headquarters had people run out of the towers.

The scare was created via unconfirmed rumour that an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) had been planted in a sack at a spot between Top View Hotel and the headquarters of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

People hurriedly evacuated their offices and fled the area.

Wuse zone 5 is also home to the national headquarters of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service(FIRS).

The resultant evacuation led to a gridlock on Algiers street and movement was restricted to one lane of dual carriage road.

The area was later cordoned off by operatives of the Special Anti-Bomb Squad, who searched and found the supposed bomb to detonate.

It was however discovered to be a sack containing rags dumped by an unknown person.

The area has been declared safe and traffic is beginning to flow again.

Abuja has been hit by a number of bomb scares as well as coordinated bomb attacks since the October 1, 2010 bomb blast.


Witness tells court how El-Rufai allocated land to himself, family and companies

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday told an Abuja High Court that a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir El-Rufai and two of his officials unilaterally revoked some juicy plots of land and allocated same to themselves, their relatives and their companies.

Sunday Idowu, a former operative of the EFCC made the disclosure while being led in evidence by the commission’s lawyer, Adebayo Adelodun, in continuation of trial of the former minister who is facing an eight-count of abuse of office.

The two other accused persons are the Director General, Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS), Atine Jubrin and former General Manager, AGIS Ismail Iro.

Mr Idowu, an Inspector of Police gave detailed steps taken by his investigative team in unravelling facts behind the accusations against the accused persons.

“We interacted with interested parties notably Abuja Geographical Information Services (AGIS), Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST), Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) among others who gave us insight into what actually happened,” the police officer said.

He said that his team identified an official memo written by a senior official of FCDA advising against the irregular conversion of the plots.

“At AGIS, investigation revealed that plots 1201 and 3352 which were originally allocated to PHCN and NIPOST were revoked and then re-allocated to 9 private individuals including two wives of the former minister, daughter of former President Obasanjo, Iyabo Obasanjo–Bello, a serving senator, Philip Aduda and the 2nd and 3rd accused persons,” Mr Idowu said.

The witness further told the court that his team discovered from the Corporate Affairs Commission that Misters El-Rufai, and Iro are directors in the three companies which benefited from the re-allocation, namely: System Property Development Company, SPDC, Express Procurement Ltd and Pure Environment Services.

“In the course of investigation, it was discovered that one of the irregularly converted plots, allocated to one of the wives of the 1st accused person ,with new plot number 337 was also used by him as one of the properties declared as his own in his Asset Declaration Form with the Code of Conduct Bureau,” the police investigator said.

A former Executive Secretary with the FCDA, Sani Alhassan, told the court that after a meeting with the management of PHCN it was discovered that the earlier revocation was no more necessary. He said a memo was written to the former minister advising him to revert to status quo.

The case was adjourned to 25 April for further hearing.

Mr El-Rufai and his co-accused persons were first arraigned on an amended eight-count on Thursday 7 April 2011. Their arraignment followed a petition to EFCC, detailing allegations of abuse of office against the former minister on how he misappropriated government land which he allocated to his friends and family members, in flagrant breach of the Abuja Master plan.

FCT Minister renames Abuja’s Maitama as Goodluck Jonathan district

The FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed
The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed on Friday renamed the Maitama Extension District in Abuja to Goodluck Jonathan District.

The Minister renamed the district while performing the opening ceremony of three new districts. He said his ministry will require the sum of N104.2 billion to develop infrastructure, in the new districts.

He said it was necessary to name one of the new districts after the Mr Jonathan since none of the districts in the Federal Capital Territory had been named after any Nigeria leader in the past.

“May I suggest to the Executive Secretary of FCDA, who has the Abuja Master Plan and the Coordinator of Abuja Metropolitan Management Council to rename this place as Goodluck Jonathan District.

“This is because we have not named any district after any president in the past. The president I know is President Goodluck Jonathan and the president I know that is bringing good luck to me and to Nigerians is President Goodluck Jonathan.

“Therefore, by the powers conferred on me, I change the name of this district to Goodluck Jonathan District,” he said.

The Maitama Extension covers 231 hectares with about 460 plots made up of both residential and commercial areas.