Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, Department of Development Control, weekend, demolished over 200 structures at the Nuwalege community on the Airport Road corridor in Abuja, to pave way for the reclaim of a land which the Nigerian Air Force, NAF, plans to use for the expansion of the presidential fleet area.
The Director of the Department of Development Control, Mukhtar Galadima, said the land was occupied by squatters.
He said the FCT Minister, Barr Nyesom Wike, had given the approval to remove the squatters after the Chief of Air Staff had on October 23, 2023 notified the FCTA of their intention to remove the illegal occupiers from the said land.
“We informed the residents residing on the Nigeria Air Force land about the impending action and granted them a two-month window to pack their belongings. “When the Air Force approached us, we told them about the FCTA policy on relocation and resettlement of indigenous communities. However, other non-indigenes are to be moved out of the location so that the Air Force can take over their land,” Galadima said.
He stressed that sensitisation was carried out during the Yuletide for the squatters to remove their valuables after the structures were marked for demolition. He added that properties belonging to indigenes were untouched because statutorily, they have to be relocated and compensated.
“During the demolition process, approximately 150 buildings were razed, with an estimated 70 more buildings slated for removal before completion,” he said.
Galadima urged the NAF not to commence the construction of the presidential fleet without obtaining approval from the Department of Development Control, insisting they will have to submit their development proposals for vetting and approval before they can commence any development on the reclaimed land. Some of the residents were non indigenes, who said they acquired the land with the assurance that government had ceded the village to the indigenes.
“We will discuss with the Air Force, because obviously discussion behind the scene indicates that some form of compensation were paid. But, we have to be certain that this compensation actually was paid, and also those given this compensation.
“We are going to conduct further investigation by engaging the FCT Department of Resettlement and Compensation as well as the Nigerian Air Force, and find out if compensation has been paid to who and when? “And then, we will discuss with our colleagues at the Department of Resettlement and Compensation whether at any point in time, there was any compensation that ascertained their claims as regards to the number of structures and people that are going to be affected by this expansion project,”he added.