Daily Trust (Abuja)

20 January 2013

Nigeria: Fresh Tension in Jos As Govt Demolishes Houses

Jos — Hundreds of people yesterday gathered at Bauchi Ring Road area of Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State in protest of demolition of their houses by the Plateau State Special Task Force for City Renewal.

The Task Force last Monday demolished houses in the area but suspended action as a result of resistance from members of the community for three days in a row which led to the intervention of security operatives in the state.

The victims who gathered and vowed that they would resist any attempt by the Task Force to demolish their houses claimed that their plots were legally occupied and they had all legal documents from the government before building their houses.

One of the victims Adam Umar said, "The Task Force demolished my structure which is at the completion stage without even a notice to me". Another victim, Mansurat Abdurrazak said, "I was away when my daughter called to tell me that our building was being demolished by the Task Force. I bought the land and have legal documents on the building but unfortunately they demolished our house without any notice."

The member representing Jos North-North in the Plateau State House of Assembly, Hon Ibrahim Baba Hassan, who addressed the gathering said, "The action of the Task Force is an indirect way of the State government undermining the relative peace the city is enjoying, as the plots were sold by prominent Plateau people to the victims and they have all legal documents but today the government is demolishing them. This to me, means the government is trying to cause fresh tension in the city".

The lawmaker appealed to the people to exercise patience and not to take laws into their hands, adding, "as your members we are going to challenge the action in a court of competent jurisdiction."

He also appealed to Federal Government to intervene as the move by the state government is aimed at distracting the peace process in the state.

Efforts to hear from the Task Force failed as the number of the chairman was not going through up to the time of filing this report yesterday.

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