21 December 2012

Nigeria: Demolition - Fear Grips Bwari Residents Over Marked Houses

There is palpable tension among residents of houses built on water pipes at Bwari town and other communities along Bwari-Dutse road, as the houses have been marked for demolition by the Development Control Department of Abuja Metropolitan Management Council.

Our reporter, who visited the affected areas yesterday, gathered from government sources that all houses within 130 metres of water pipes were marked for demolition.

He further gathered that the demolition will affect residential houses, shops, schools and places of worships.

Houses mostly affected by this exercise, are at the newly rehabilitated SCC road in Bwari town as well as neighbouring Pwabara, Jigo and Peyi communities.

Some of the affected residents spoken to said that the 130 metres reason for demolition argument put forward by Development Control officials is strange to them.

A resident, Joseph, said if FCT Administration goes ahead with the demolition, hundreds of people will be rendered homeless.

"They should carry out this exercise with human face. Some of us gave enough gap from water pipes but they said the distance is not up to 130 metres," he said.

Another resident, Esu Mathew, said the timing of the marking buildings in the area is wrong as it has spoilt people's festive mood.

Other residents appealed that government reconsiders its action or give affected residents' ample time to find alternative accommodations considering the economic situation in the country.

Meanwhile, Gbagyi indigenes whose houses are close to the pipe lines and were marked have vowed to resist any attempt to demolish their property unless alternatives accommodations are provided for them.

"We built our houses before the laying of those pipes and do not know what they mean by 130 metres range. It will not work as we are going to resist it," one of the indigenes said.

When our reporter visited the council's secretariat for their reactions, the council chairman was not on seat but his Press secretary, Daodu Dasha, said the council is not aware of the exercise.

"The council does not have powers to mark houses for demolition, so we don't know anything about it at all," he said.

The Esu Bwari, Chief Ibrahim Yaro, was not on seat when our reporter called at his palace but one of his chiefs, who craved anonymity, said a five-man committee headed by the chief himself had gone to the Federal Capital Development Authority to plead for the reduction of the 130 metres range from pipelines policy to reduce the number of people to be affected by the demolition.

The Sarki Bwari, Alhaji Musa Ijakoro, was also not available but one of his aides said the palace is aware of the exercise and the traditional ruler is also wading into the problem so that it is resolved.

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