An unidentified man, yesterday slumped as the FCT department of development control carried out massive demolition of illegal structures at Bassa-Jiwa Village, popularly called Aviation village, near Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.
LEADERSHIP reporter who monitored the exercise reports that the middle-aged man slumped in shock as he watched his house being pulled down mercilessly by bulldozers from the department.
The incident attracted a lot of attention as everyone present rushed to the scene, with many thinking the man had died.
In a chat with journalists, the District Officer, Airport Road and Aviation Village, Adamu Garba, said the exercise was carried out because most of the people who had built houses in the area had no approval for such developments, adding that over 80 per cent of houses in the area would be affected.
Residents however decried the demolition, saying they were misled by the department and were also not given enough time to remove their property before the commencement of the exercise.
A resident, Luka Ali said they were informed by the department that the demolition would only affect houses where the FCT administration planned to carry out rail expansion.
He said, “They marked houses on the site of expansion but didn’t even tell us our houses would be affected. The indigenes even went round and collected N2,000 each from us, even till this morning, assuring us that our houses would not be affected and so we were shocked when they came and started demolishing our houses.”
Another resident, Ahmadu Aliko, alleged that indigenes connived with officials to collect money from some non-indigenes, promising them that their house would be spared.
“They paid as much as N150,000 to N300,000, depending on the size of the house so that their houses would be spared from demolition,” he added.
Reacting to the allegations, the director, development control, Yahaya Yusuf said they were unfounded as no staff of the department will do such.
He said, “I can assure you that no development control staff would compromise and collect money from anyone because they know they will be caught. This is the work of fake guys, who are all over the place anytime we’ve had to embark on removal of illegal structures put up by non-indigenes in indigenous villages like this, you will always hear stories of people coming around, constituting themselves into associations and the likes.
“If anyone is not tired of the loss they will incur as a result of this demolition and still goes ahead to contribute money and give to them that’s the person’s business.”
He maintained that the chiefs of villages on airport road had been duly notified of the demolitions.