Demolition: Group alleges FCTA takes pride in inflicting hardship on poor residents
Tasks government on collapsed housing, transportation in Abuja
Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned demolition of structures in Abuja by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) led by the Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello, without strategic approaches on resolving the housing problems and the public transportation crisis in the nation’s capital.
The rights group said any government that lacks a human face, empathy and consideration for the poor in the society is nothing but a scam. HURIWA’s national coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, said the incessant draconian practice of demolition of settlements of struggling residents of FCT administration, without any alternative arrangements or policies to cushion the gross housing deficits that afflicts the nation’s capital, is nothing short of operating a government with no plans on solving basic social and economic challenges.
The group described the incessant demolition of houses of the poor without alternative places of abode as a crime against humanity and is offensive against the constitution because it denies the residents the human dignity that they are obliged to have under the chapter 4 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
It asked the FCTA to quickly address the housing crisis and the collapse of the transportation system for public utility in the nation’s capital to avoid possible uprising of the poor, marginalised and the humiliated.
The Rights group also blamed the FCTA for lacking the scientific acumen to introduce and implement an effective public transportation system in the city.
The group lamented that civil servants, who reside far away from the metropolis, are forced to climb in the back of pick up vans of police operatives and other unserviceable cars just to be able to commute to and from work daily.
HURIWA recalled that FCTA, on Thursday, removed what it calls illegal structures obstructing the Jabi-Dakibu road corridor just as the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to FCT Minister on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement, Ikharo Attah, who led the cleanup in Idu area, in collaboration with the Department of Development Control, Security Services, Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) and all relevant security agencies were at Idu early on Thursday morning.
The SSA to the minister decried the rate at which people encroach on road corridors in Abuja and said the minister is very sad and would continue to reclaim the road corridor from the illegal squatters.
HURIWA faulted the lack of any sort of policy implementation that addresses the need to set up low cost housing assets by government for the purposes of renting it at affordable rate to residents, many of whom have no decent accommodation to lay their heads and yet over 90 per cent of residents of these shanty and unfashionable settlement areas that have sprang up in different parts of Abuja, due to scarcity of accommodation and the high prevalence of poverty amongst majority of Abuja residents, have compelled many Abuja residents to just find just anywhere to be able to cool off the accumulated tensions of daily hustles in Abuja.
“The large majority of affected Abuja residents are too poor to hire flats in the city centre, which goes to the highest bidders at exorbitant prices of over N2.5million for three bedrooms flat in such places, as Wuse, Garki, Area 1, and even Apo resettlement centres,” the group added.