Over 4000 residents of Gishiri Village, Katampe District, Cadastral Zone B07 Abuja has appealed to the federal government and the minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mohammed Bello for timely intervention against imminent demolition of their village.
In a statement signed by Barr. Tom Alphonus, Temple Solicitors and Advocates, representing occupiers and owners of structures within Gishiri village and made available to journalists in Abuja, urged the minister to use his good office to intervene against the proposed demolition.
He said the appeal became necessary based on notice of demolition dated September 25th, 2020 and issued by the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council and marked for demolition by the Department of Development Control (an agency of the Federal Capital Territory Administration).
Barr. Alphosus in the letter copied to Senate President, Sen. Ahmed Lawal; Hon. Speaker House Of Representative, Hon. Femi Gbajiamila; Senator Philip Aduda; minister of Works And Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN); chairman, Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Hon. Abdullahi Adamu; executive director of FCDA and director, Department of Development Control. He stated that Gishiri village has served as a residence to over 4,000 persons.
“We passionately appeal to your good office for intervention against the impending demolition and forward the following sincere concerns for your consideration.
“Gishiri village is recognized and accepted by the government of Nigeria and government of the Federal Capital Territory as a settlement for a vast population of law abiding citizens of Nigeria.
“The government has helped provide sustainable services like electricity, pipe borne water, a police station, a primary health center, a primary school and most recently a public convenience for use by the people.
“The period of 21 days indicated in the said notice of demolition is in our view unlawful, unconscionable, immoral, inconsiderate and highly unrealistic if not impossible for over 4,000 Nigerian families with no form of compensation or other alternative accommodation to vacate the area.
“Hence, we implore your good office on behalf of these families to intervene against the proposed demolition.
“While we are aware of the overriding powers of the relevant authorities under the law over lands such as the one under in issue, we appeal to the government and all persons in positions of authority to observe and follow due process of the law,” the statement said.
Furthermore, he noted that they were all witnesses to the economic downturn occasioned by the global pandemic (COVID-19). “It is worthy of note that about 99% of occupiers and owners of structures within the affected area are low income earners seeking succor from high cost of accommodation within the Federal Capital Territory.
“It would further worsen the already terrible economic plights of these families and expose them to unimaginable hardships if the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council embarked on the proposed demolition without any compensation from the government.
“While we are aware of the efforts of the government to enhance the wellbeing and economic situation of the country at large, we reiterate that the proposed demolition if embarked upon without appropriate compensation and or resettlement in place, would expose the life and wellbeing of these vast population to irreparable but avoidable danger.
“Please be assured of our highest professional regards as we anticipate your timely intervention to this matter.”
Chairman of Gishiri/Kasanblanka residents of the village, Mr. Ayodele Ariyo, who spoke on behalf of the residents prayed the court to issue an order stopping FCDA and the FCT minister from carrying out the demolition, pending the final determination of the case.
He call for understanding from government, adding that the residents needed more time to move their belongings.
In his remark, the secretary of the group, Mr. Joseph Ikaba, noted that the demolition of Gishiri Village will cause untold hardship to the occupants that are already suffering from economic crisis caused by the Corona virus pandemic.
Ikaba said that the applicants will suffer unmitigated and irreparable damages if this Application is not granted.
BY ERNEST NZOR,