Following the recent demolition of structures at Iddo Sarki community along Airport Road, Abuja by the Development Control Department of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), the Public Complaints Commission (PCC) has asked the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Muhammed Bello to stay action on the exercise pending the investigation of the petition by the natives.
The FCT Commissioner, Dalhatu Ezekiel disclosed this on Sunday while addressing journalists in Abuja over the petition by the Coalition of FCT Indigenous Associations, which bordered on alleged indiscriminate demolition and unjust intimidation by the FCT Administration.
The Commissioner asked the Minister to follow due process and engage the stakeholders on the exercise, adding that the commission is empowered by the constitution to direct any security agencies and government officials to stop action on any issues brought before it to resolve it amicably.
He said, “As a commission that is empowered by the constitution to act swiftly on any complaint that is tabled before us to resolve them and to have a common ground without prejudice or being sentimental, we will give the FCT the opportunity to respond to some of these petitions raised by the natives and residents of Iddo Sarki.
“To the fact that their homes have been demolished without due process and stakeholders engagement, we urge FCT Administration to hold further proceedings hence have the weighty petition to stay action on the demolition to enable us to find a way to resolve it.”
He explained that the commission would carry out a thorough investigation into the petition and the allegation before it which bordered on alleged selective justice in the demolition exercise.
“We want a situation where FCT Administration will engage the stakeholders from traditional rulers, AMAC Chairman, House of Representatives members, Senators and others with a view to resolving this matter in a way that will have a human face because we are in a democracy and these people are your citizens,” Ezekiel added.
The Coalition of FCT Indigenous Associations had in a petition dated 23 July accused the Development Control Department of unjust and indiscriminate demolition of their houses under the guise of non-allocation of the land to the communities even though it was a case of ancestral settlement.
The petition read, “We have found it pertinent to bring to your notice again the undemocratic behaviour of some agents of the Federal Capital Territory Administration through the Department of Development Control.
“It is though disheartening that only these communities namely; Ido, Ido Sarki, Kpakuru, Tunga Maje have trended in our petitions in the last two years against the government’s incessant high-handedness to FCT natives.
“Herein, we diligently submit that the Development Control of FCTA is unjustly and indiscriminately demolishing the abodes of FCT natives under the guise of non-allocation of the land to the communities even though it is a case of ancestral settlement.
“The same Development Control that does not see the massive illegal structural development by the Nigerian military on the communities unallocated lands as proclaimed by the Minister of FCT.
“We, therefore, believe this action of Development Control is illegal and being perpetrated by some rogue officers in the department. Also, we use this opportunity to call the attention of the Honourable Minister of FCT through the FCT Public Complaints Commission to intervene and forestall any possible breakdown of law and order for the benefit of the FCT.”
AFRIPOST recalls that many residents including students of the University of Abuja were displaced and rendered homeless when a combined team of the ministerial committee on city sanitation and Department of State Service (DSS) stormed the community with bulldozers and pulled down many structures in the process, forcing residents to run helter-skelter.
Worst still, a strong threats of demolition was sent to other communites including Ushafa, Mpape and Dutse Makaranta while addressing journalists at the scene of the Iddo demolition by the Chairman, FCT Ministerial Committee on City Sanitation, Ikharo Attah.
He said: “We have to rush this work now because the people of Mpape, Dutse Makaranta and Ushafa -both the residents and landlords are begging the FCT Minister to come and clean up their area. So, we will soon be going to assist them.
“We are seeing encroachments even in the Lower Usuma Dam where we get our safe water to drink. We don’t want people to go there and pollute our water.”