A group from the Federal Capital Territory Administration has requested a halt to house demolitions in Abuja and the restoration of empty homes for distribution to the homeless.
The group urged the administration to “put an end to the ongoing demolitions and forced evictions sweeping the capital, which has caused the displacement of tens of thousands of residents.”
According to a statement issued by
The People’s Alternative Political Movement (TPAP-M), the demolitions, ostensibly done to sterilize the FCT, have brought more pain and suffering to people who just want a roof over their heads while trying to make a living.
The inhumane demolition policy allegedly targeting illegal buildings in violation of the Abuja Master Plan has been in place since 2006 when it was said to have displaced up to 800,000 residents who were forced to move out of Abuja.
“A decade and a half later, demolitions are still frequent and this shows that this is not the way to ‘cleanse’ the capital as the Federal Capital Territory Administration and the FCT Ministerial Task Force on City Drainage claim.”
The group also accused the FCT management of reselling land seized during the demolitions to “corporate politicians and major real estate companies who are building apartment complexes that are out of reach for the average citizen in Abuja, leaving those properties empty and uninhabited”.
The areas of Asokoro and Maitama are notable for luxury homes without occupants.
“We recommend that Abuja’s empty homes and real estate be re-owned and re-allocated to poor and homeless workers,” the statement read.
Recently, federal legislators established a commission to look into real estate fraud cases in Nigeria as well as unaffordable housing in the FCT.
Excellent times mentioned ICPC Chairman, Bolaji Owasanoye, at this committee hearing, noted that the Real Estate Development Association of Nigeria (REDAN) which had allocated huge plots of land for mass housing development in the FCT in cooperation with the Federal Government through the Federal Mortgage Bank as a result of default in their responsibility, They resorted to offering plots of land and selling them to the highest bidders, against the policy.
According to the statement, the recent demolitions of Powari, Dotsi, Kupwa, Longon, Lugbi, Mbabé, Nyanya and Edo were carried out under heavy militarization and without warning or notice to the affected victims, making it impossible for the residents to rescue them. Their property is in the buildings before they are demolished.
In places where the population resisted, such as Idu and Lungu, armed military and paramilitary officials rounded up and detained the residents.
PREMIUM TIMES was unable to independently verify this claim at the time of writing.
TPAPM is calling on the FCT to impose a moratorium on all evictions and demolitions with the dissolution of the ruthless task force on city sanitation, until adequate social housing is provided to all Abuja residents.
“In addition, we are calling for more inclusive, equitable, participatory and representative urban planning for the development management process, with residents participating in decision-making and implementation processes related to housing, urban development and planning in the FCT.”
It also called for an immediate independent investigation into the land allocation and urban development processes in the Counter-Terrorism Agreement to identify and punish the perpetrators.
She pointed out that the situation of poverty, insecurity and unemployment across the country, explains why young people and workers are migrating to urban areas in Abuja where there seems to be more opportunity and safety.
Policies that do not provide for so many of our people, but rather demolish their homes, criminalize their livelihoods, and leave them at the mercy of the elements, will only lead to the repetition and amplification of these crises in Abuja, rather than addressing and mitigating them. “
It also proposed regulating the maximum amount of rent to match the standard of living and the average income of the people, and the restoration of residential properties that violate this regulation and are therefore empty and uninhabited.
According to the group, rent regulation and residential property restitution will not only make the lives of Nigerians working in FCT easier, “The recovery of vacant properties following this regulation could serve as the basis for a social housing system for residents who are homeless, living in inhumane slum housing, or Those who need transportation before urban development requires demolishing their homes.”
“While these are temporary measures, we believe that the ultimate solution to the housing crises in Abuja is for the FCT to build collective social housing for people and end housing scarcity once and for all,” TPAM said.
The group also suggested that as a means of curbing corruption and fraud in the land and housing sector, an inventory and registration of property, including the process and mechanism of property identification, should be carried out.
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