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Flood: FCDA to bring down illegal structures at Lokogoma Estates

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Lokogoma, FCT

These are indeed tough times for landlords and tenants of Lokogoma Estates located along River Kabusa Waterway in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as more misery await them.

In fact, barring any intervention from the powers that be, the Federal Capital Territory Authority has concluded plans to embark on the demolition of all illegal structures around that corridor.

Unfortunately, there would be no form of compensation for unapproved buildings or structures as a result of failure of their owners/developers to abide by the FCT Masterplan.

The demolition threat came in the wake of the Thursday June 6, 2019 flood disaster, which occurred in that part of the territory after a heavy downpour, which took the life of a 17-year-old boy.

The death and the attendant destruction may have caused some concerned Nigerians to throw their weight behind moves by the authority to demolish all structures along the waterways in the area, especially since a similar flood in 2017 led to the death of a father, his son and daughter.

Speaking when newsmen visited the flooded Lokogoma Estates, the FCDA Director of Engineering Services, Shehu Hadi Ahmed said the major cause of the flood was the obstruction of the waterways by illegal structures put in place by developers.

Represented by his deputy director, Ferdinard Obiora, Ahmed an engineer stated that no amount of solution could permanently solve the problem except the demolition of all the structures and buildings along the River Kabusa’s waterways.

He said: “You can see the whole place is full of illegal walls cast in concrete by these property owners all in a bid to divert the water. What they don’t know is that there is no way you can block natural water or river channels. In fact, it is so difficult to succeed in doing that because water will always find its level. That is why we have said that all these illegal structures are going to be demolished because I am very sure that none of these people got approvals to put up these buildings in line with the Abuja Masterplan.”

A meeting, which the FCDA planned to have with landlords, tenants/residents of the entire estate last Monday, was postponed indefinitely, but Ahmed said the FCDA has ordered its contractor, Gilmor Construction Company Ltd, to assess the entire area with a view to finding a temporary solution to the problem in order to prevent a re-occurrence, especially now that the rains are here.

He noted: “Although FCDA has already captured the contract for massive infrastructure development for this area in this year’s budget, but survey and proper assessment must be carried out first before we commence the job. One thing that I would like to say is that residents of the area should be rest assured that government is going to award the contract for the entire development of this area, and will be completed before the end of December 2019.”

He said for now, the number of structures or buildings to be demolished cannot be ascertained, pending an elaborate verification exercise that would be carried out by the FCDA and other stakeholders.

He commiserated with the family that lost the teenager in the flood.

In his comments, the Chairman of Lokogoma Estate Owners and Residents Association, Dr. Joseph Nnorom, who said these were perilous times for residents and house owners asked the FCDA to be prepared to pay compensation for any structure that would be brought down.

“If these structures should go down, we need adequate compensation. If you find out, all our developers have absconded, so the Mass Housing Department of FCDA needs to find out and get them to come and answer some questions, and also let the world know what their commitments are, this is the way to go.”

“We are still mourning because as you heard, we lost and father a two of his children here in 2017. This year again, we’ve lost a 17- year-old boy, and their demise has visited a lot of anguish on those left behind. This must stop.

“Our worry is that some persons did these allocations and houses were built over the years, and somebody was supposed to have pointed out that these houses should not be erected here in the first place. Since there are plans to demolish some houses, the issue of compensation has to be put on the front burner,” he noted.

Some of residents of the estate, who spoke to The Guardian called on government to hasten infrastructural development of the area.
 
One, who did not want his name in print, said that estate developers are to blame for the chaotic development that has taken place in the area.

“The estate developers are the ones that started encroaching on these waterways illegally, and that is what has brought this untold hardship. I can tell you that some of them acquired these properties without approvals from the FCDA, we are only appealing to government to give us a soft landing.”

Also speaking, a resident of 1-Point Estate in Lokogoma, Mrs. Osayi Pokima told The Guardian that life has been very harsh with them since they became tenants in the area.

Pokima said: “It’s a terrible situation we have found ourselves here. Usually when there is a heavy downpour, coming in and out of the estate is always very difficult. I, and my children are usually scared about coming home during the rainy season.

She explained that apart from the problems of flooding, poor electricity and insecurity were other challenges they have to put up with.

“It may surprise you that most of these electricity poles were bought and put in place by the residents because the developers failed to put in place adequate infrastructure for us, even in the area of security. Since the place is poorly secured, men of the underworld take advantage of that to attack people in their houses when it rains heavily. So, we are appealing to government to do the needful in that regards, and also prosecute the developers for failing in their duties to off-takers.”


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