By: Wisdom Acka
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has assured that the ongoing demolition of illegal structures in Guzape and other parts of the territory were not targeted at the original inhabitants in FCT.
Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement to the FCT Minister, Ikharo Attah, made the clarification while fielding questions from newsmen during a demolition exercise Thursday in Abuja.
Attah explained that the affected shops and houses were demolished because they were built on flood plains.
He added that part of the area demolished was to free up the land designated for development of a school.
Ikharo said that the FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammad Bello, has strong love and regards for the 17 Graded Chiefs, as well as all the original inhabitants of the nation’s capital.
“It is false and misleading for anybody to think or insinuate that the ongoing demolition of illegal structures at Kpaduma II village in Guzape and other parts of the Federal Capital Territory is targeted at the Abuja natives,” he added.
His words: “The Abuja natives are very peace loving people and the FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello has strong love for them. If you observed the Minister and the 17 graded FCT Chiefs, they are very close. From the Ona of Abaji to the Sapeyi of Garki and several others, all are very close to him.”
“Therefore, the efforts of the FCT Administration in trying to rid the territory of environmental nuisance and illegality is not and never targeted at the Abuja natives,” he reiterated.
Attah also said that most of the people that were affected by the exercise were those who illegally bought land from the natives.
“And that is the irony. Take a look at all of these places is not an area for the natives. If it were the native houses you will have seen them gathered because they will have nowhere to go,” he stressed.
“But up there you could see the village and it is not touched because the villagers have right to resettlement and compensation,” he stressed.
“So, the Minister has asked us to remove all the squatters, who illegally bought land from the natives in contravention of the law, while the natives have to be respected and be allowed time for possible reintegration and resettlement depending on what the FCT Administration intends to do,” he emphasized.
On his part, Mr Kaka Bello, the Head of Monitoring and Enforcement, Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), also said that the area was earmarked for school but some people decided to defile the plan on the land and allocated it for illegal commercial activities.
“If you look around, you will see a timber shade, you can see blocks making factories and you can see bamboo sale spots there. All these illegal commercial activities are not supposed to be here,” he said.
Reacting to the demolition, one of the affected persons, Matthew Igba, appealed to the FCT Administration to ensure constructive engagement with the people when embarking on such exercise.
He alleged that the structure, where he was living with his family was not marked for demolition, “but we only see bulldozers coming to demolish our structures.”
Also, James Ibekwe, a seller of building materials, said: “everything that has happened has happened. This is where we do our business and get out daily income.
“All of a sudden we just see something like this. The FCT Administration only give us three days notice and before we know what is happening our business place is gone.”