Demolitions: Oppression of Abuja homeowners must stop by FCTA, says HURIWA
Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA), yesterday, expressed displeasure over demolitions of alleged approved structures in Abuja by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).
The group also condemned the practice of throwing the poor outside the streets with no option of resettlement or some forms of compensation to help them get alternative places of abode like human beings that they are.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said it understands that government is obliged to prevent environmental issues like flood caused by the undue blockage of water channels by some unscrupulous house developers without any forms of government’s approval, but he described it as callous, the alleged taking of people’s roofs from their heads by the government.
The group noted that the Minister, Mohammed Musa Bello, should eradicate what it calls ‘perennial virus of wickedness’ in some of the enforcers of housing and city planning laws, because of their lack empathy by failing to provide relocation alternative for hundreds of affected Abuja residents.
According to HURIWA, Abuja is the only place in the world, where those who have government privileges to loot public funds erect mansions in the city centres, which are unoccupied but almost 65 per cent of civil servants and teachers working even for the FCT Ministry live in Nasarawa or Niger States from where they commune to work daily.
The group also said it was saddening that some of the buildings demolished by the FCTA were done for alleged political reasons.
It said: “When poor masses can’t find affordable accommodation, they are prone to falling victims to fraudsters, who build makeshift huts on government unapproved lands and when the officials come for demolitions they are treated like animals rather than as victims of dupes and 419 house owners, who most time bribe FCTA staff to look the other way for few months before, striking when the unfortunate victims have settled in.
“The rash of demolitions in Abuja by the FCTA is somehow condemnable and a little bit irrational for lacking human empathy.
“The consequences on human habitations in Abuja and of course the possibility that it will lead to a shoot up of costs of living in the FCT is so appalling.
“With these demolitions, it means hundreds of thousands of residents will be driven further into absolute poverty. This is why the FCT needs to have made adequate alternative arrangements before demolition of these shanties so these people who are thrown out of the streets will have affordable accommodation because many amongst them are victims and not collaborators with those land grabbers.
“The other aspect is that a lot of corruption trails these demolitions like the allegations by Kpokpogri, an ex-lover to actress Tonto Dikeh, that his house was demolished because FCT officials wanted to buy it from him and he refused to sell. This needs to be investigated.”
Recall that FCTA had last week demolished a building belonging to Kpokpogri, an ex-lover to actress Tonto Dikeh, at Guzape in Abuja. The structure is estimated at over N700m.