Abuja Community in Ruins After FCDA Operatives Demolished over 100 Houses Photo: Channels TV

Residents in anguish as FCDA team demolishes over 100 houses in Abuja community

*There was no notice, it is very unfortunate, says Spokesman for FCT Natives

*Are we not Nigerians? Is Nigeria not our country? Ask the residents

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Having been deemed illegal and subsequently marked for demolition earlier, the task force the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) has wrecked over 100 houses and reduced them to rubble in a community in the FCT.

The officials of the FCDA appeared in the community in the early hours of Saturday, August 15, and the bulldozers they commandeered quickly went to work by pulling down the buildings.

It was learnt that moments after the bulldozers departed in the exercise said to have been coordinated by Ikharo Attah, Chairman of the FCT Task Force on City Sanitation, residents disclosed that more than 100 houses had been destroyed.

The FCDA operatives who participated in the exercise stated that the exercise took place months after the buildings were marked for demolition in the community.

The community, whose residents are said to be the original natives of the FCT, was reportedly on the land meant for a road interchange, and had been asked to leave.

However, the residents disagreed with the authorities and condemned the demolition, especially its timing, as several of them claimed that some residents were asleep at the time the demolition team moved in.

They equally claimed that they were brutalised and tear-gassed, Channels TV report stated.

Yunusa Yusuf, Spokesman for the FCT natives, also insisted that the residents were not given adequate notice before the exercise was carried out.

Yusuf disclosed that the expected procedure is for the Department of Development Control of the Federal Capital Development Authority to give a notice about the imminent demolition.

He said: “Nobody can say here that they came and gave a notice. There was no notice.

“Even if they say the people (in the community) settled here illegally, what notices did you give to them? How did you tell them that you were going to demolish their houses?”

Yusuf is reported to be unhappy with the way the residents of the community were treated during the demolition exercise.

He retorted: “If you want to demolish houses, will the government now be the one tear-gassing people as if they are terrorists?

“How will you wake up by 4 a.m. and by 4 a.m. you have already taken over a community just because you want to access their houses?”

Yusuf rather described the demolition as unfortunate and unexpected, as he and many others in the community regarded development has heightened the grievances of the natives of the FCT and exposes them to vices.

According to reports, some of the residents also accused the security officials that came with the demolition crew of preventing them from getting their property out before they pulled down their houses.

An Affected Female Resident Consoling Her Disturbed Neighbour Over the Demolition Exercise   Photo: Channels TV

A resident, who said he is a graduate of Accounting but currently works as a dispatch rider lamented that “they can’t just come by 4 a.m. just to demolish everywhere and chase us out.

“We don’t have access to pack our property; we don’t have any means of surviving. Can the government live without the poor people?”

A woman, another affected resident related her experience: “We were all sleeping in our houses before they brought caterpillars (bulldozers) with troops of Mopols (Mobile Policemen), they started beating people – women, not even men.

“The women came out (and) were crying; they fired tear gas… They demolished everything.”

The woman said that some people were still looking for their children at the time Channels TV visited the scene.

“Without prior notice, you came at 4 a.m. in the morning to demolish. Are we not Nigerians? Is this Nigeria not our country? After the lockdown, they never brought any palliative into this country.

“We stayed here for months, they locked us down; no work, no businesses. The next thing is to come and demolish our houses.”

The visibly upset spokesman of the FCT Natives said: “This is the same government that has not been able to stop kidnapping, they have not been able to handle security, but, today, they can bring up to 300 security men to surround this community.

“It is very unfortunate. It is very unfortunate. This is not what we expect.”

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