About two months ago, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) commenced another phase of resettlement of some indigenous communities currently living in the Federal Capital City. DAVID ADUGE-ANI writes on the unending challenges facing the exercise.
Worried by the lingering and unending issue of resettlement and compensation of the original indigenes of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), a member of Federal House of Representatives, representing the Pankshin/Kanke/Kanam Federal constituency of Plateau State, Hon. Timothy Simon Golu called for investigation into the matter. Golu, in a motion to the house had stressed the need to investigate the resettlement and compensation activities, noting that the Federal Government adopted the relocation and compensation policy in order to resettle indigenous people from the Federal City Centre (FCC) to designated locations.
It is also on record that the policy of relocation and compensation for the original Abuja indigenes was aimed at decongesting the City Centre and to allow for development of structures in the new Federal Capital Territory (FCT). However, observers believe that the indigenes of the FCT have not been appropriately resettled and compensated, since the adoption of the resettlement and compensation policies, because the government could not resettle the indigenous population to marked areas and provide them compensation as agreed upon.
LEADERSHIP gathered that when the FCT was conceived, the policy was to resettle the indigenes or pay compensation to those affected by the development, but along the line subsequent governments did not execute this policy.
But in May, 2018, the Federal capital Territory Administration (FCTA) started what looks like another round of relocation for the indigenes. Speaking during the official handed over of a newly completed police post to the Nigeria Police in Shere-Galuwyi Resettlement, in Bwari area council recently, the executive secretary, Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Engr. Umar Gambo Jibrin, said that the relocation of about two indigenous communities, including Jabi Yakubu, Jabi Samuel, in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) would take place in matter of few weeks.
Jibrin explained that seven communities, Utako, Maje, Jabi Samuel, Jabi Yakubu, Zilu , Kpana and Mabuchi, are expected to be resettled in the area, adding that the completion and the commissioning of the police post was meant to provide safety and security for the residents of the community. He stated that henceforth, efforts would be made to complete the resettlement scheme, to ameliorate the plight of affected indigenous people, who are chocking in their present locations.
LEADERSHIP gathered that already, about 1,618 two-bedroom houses, out of the proposed 2, 276 houses, in the new site, have been completed and are ready to be occupied by the indigenes, while efforts are being made to complete road, electricity and water projects in the area.
However, some residents of these communities, who spoke to our reporter, claimed that they are not aware of any plan by the FCTA to relocate them to a new site. Chief of Jabi-Samuel, Chief Samuel Yabusa (JP), told LEADESHIP that nobody has approached him concerning the relocation plan of his community. ”Really, I have been hearing about relocating some communities, but nobody has ever come to me to tell me about it. That is why I concluded that may be we are not involved in the exercise.”
Yabusa said that the last time he visited Shere-Galuwyi Resettlement was about six years ago, adding that since then nobody has discussed the issue of relocating Jabi-Samuel to the area.
“Some years ago we compiled a list of members of the village, but up till today nothing has been done about it. Some people are still living while some have died. And we still have grown up children here, and we have built additional houses since then. So, what do they expect us to do? These are the questions we are going to ask them when they come. We visited the proposed site at Shere-Galuwyi community about six years ago and since then nobody has spoken to us about it, which makes us to believe that we not involved in the exercise.”
He continued: “Before now we were told that there is no more resettlement. But since they are thinking of that now, it means that they have to inform us, so that we can go and see what they have on ground. For instance at the time we visited the area, there were no facilities for human habitation. Also, the road is not good, also there was no water. Now they want to carry us to that place without providing water, electricity and other infrastructure. They should know that we are also human beings.”
Also, the Esu of Jabi-Maje, Chief Adams Jatau, told LEADERSHIP that the community was earlier moved from the present location of Jabi Dam, to their present location, adding that the community cannot move again. Jatau maintained that instead of moving them to an unknown and unfamiliar location, the administration should reintegrate them into the Abuja master plan, because the people who are coming to occupy their present land are not more human them.
“We are in support of reintegration, instead of moving us up and down. We have not been informed of this exercise, as we speak. We were moved from the present location of Jabi Dam, to our present location. We cannot move again, instead, the administration should reintegrate us into the Abuja master plan, because the people we are leaving this land for are not more human than us. What is the essence of moving us to a place we are not familiar with and removing us from our ancestral home?”
Again, the Chief of Jabi-Yakubu, Alhaji Yakubu Auta, maintained the community will first visit the proposed resettlement site to make sure that necessary infrastructure such as water, good road, electricity, hospitals and schools for their children are provided before they agree to move.
“We will visit the community to see that things are put in place as I have requested from the administration, but if the infrastructures are not put in place we will not go. We are saying if the administration has put in place electricity, good road and water and school, we will move. But if theseinfrastructure are not there we will not move, because we will not feel comfortable there.”
The Dekeci of Jabi, however appealed to the FCTA to keep to the agreement he reached with them by ensuring that necessary infrastructure are put in place at Shere-Galuwyi, before moving them, so that he would regret his choice of agreeing to move to the community.
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