Owners of unapproved structures camouflaging such properties as indigenous houses, may have to come up with another format, as the FCT Administration said it is in on the gimmick.
This is as the FCT Administration resumed the removal of illegal structures and shanties at the Kabusa village.
Speaking to newsmen during the demolition exercise, the Senior Special Assistant to the FCT Minister on Monitoring inspection and Enforcement, Comrade Ikharo Attah, stated that while the administration will respect the rights of the original inhabitants to resettlement and compensation, it will not hesitate to pull down all illegal houses belonging to non indigenes.
Attah, while warning mischieve makers inscribing ‘Gbagyi House’ on structures marked for demolition to desist from that, also warned those who collect money from non indigenes to provide them cover that will not stand.
In his words, “We are not touching houses of the indigenous people, we are clear on that. They have rights to resettlement and compensation but those who are non indigenes who have become so mischievous to go and write all over their houses, ‘Gbagyi House’ ‘Gbagyi House’ we see that there and when we get there, we know the indigenous houses, we have men who are under cover agents and have been living there and have guided it. So those who are non indigenes and are writing indigenes house on their building, we will remove all of them.
“The original indigenes are here. The chiefs are here, the SSA to the Minister on Youths and Community Relations is here. They know their houses and we also know the indigenous houses as well. Those who collect money from non indigenes to give them cover will not stand.
On why the team was back to Kabusa, the minister’s aide said the team will sustain the operation untill all batchers, shanties and illegal structures fueling insecurity in the neighbourhood are removed.
“There has been cases of kidnapping around some key estates around here stretching down to the Apo axis which we will be taking down the batchers and shanties and every illegal settlement around here even baban Bola colonies. We will be doing all of that and continuation of what the Department of Development Control started. That’s the removal of illegal structures where FCTA allocate lands and people sold the land to other people without papers and they built upon it, that’s why you are seeing real busy work going on today and that’s what we are doing throughout today.
“I don’t know how many houses will go down today, but as many as the illegalities you see around here are going down. Many have taken off their roofs that shows they know they are illegal structures and must play host to the bulldozers.”
The Special Assistant to the Minister on Community Relations, Comrade Isaac David, who was also there to mediate on behalf of the indigenes, said original inhabitants will always welcome any form of development in their community but appealed that the welfare of the indigenous people which are backed by the constitution, be respected.
“We know it is a development but we have to look into the welfare of the indigenous people which are backed by the constitution to remain in the Federal Capital Territory pending when Development get to their communities and they will be considered for compensations. I am here to ensure that such laws are not violated. The right of every Nigerian should be protected.
“We are appealing to the Development Control to step down their actions today so that we can have the opportunity to pack their things. Despite the fact that markings were done, notices were given, people still thought that the demolition will not commence.”
Speaking on the sensitization of residents over buying of lands from indigenous people, he said the government has been sensitising residents through themedia, to stop buying lands from traditional rulers.
“The indigenous people in FCT have customary rights over property in FCT, that is why some issues are being looked into critically because they are constitutional issues. There are certain issues that the FCT minister cannot do, but can only be addressed by the National Assembly by implementing some particular section that gives the indigenous people rights.”
On his part, the District Head of Kabusa Village, Chief Zawu Zufuzhizow John appealed to the FCT Administration to suspend the demolition till the end of the rainy season.
“Look at how people are running about to save their properties and this raining season. We are pleading with the minister to stop this demolition, so that we can have the necessary meetings and understand ourselves, before any other thing will take place.”