There was uproar yesterday in Lungu village, in Kafe district and Abuja Model City, Adkan Estate, Gwarinpa II and Galadima, as a woman took her life after a house collapsed and killed her two-month old baby, during a demolition exercise by the Department of Development Control of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) in the area.
Following the incident, protest erupted in the area and environs, resulting into a gridlock in the estate, spilling over to the Kubwa expressway, as some angry residents set tyres ablaze on the road.
The ever busy expressway and other major roads around the area were blocked by the protesters, making it impossible for motorists to pass through the axis, Peoples Daily reports that some women displayed placards with inscriptions such as: “Stop this Demolition; “FCT Minister, please come and help us; and “We are tired of demolition.”
According eyewitness account, as the demolition was going on, a house felled and killed a two-month old baby; the baby died and the mother, who could not take it, stabbed herself and died immediately.
When contacted on the exercise, the Spokesman of the development Control, Mr. Kalu Emetu, who denied knowledge of any death during the demolition, said FCDA official only removed illegal settlements on a plot meant for estate development.
He said a total of 54 illegal structures were demolished, including 17 shanties, 5 shops and one church in the area.
Meanwhile, as the protest was still on, the minister of the FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed, inaugurated the reconstituted FCT Urban and Regional Planning Tribunal, in order to protect the Abuja Master Plan.
Peoples Daily recalls that the Tribunal was established under the Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning Act 1992 Cap 138 LFN 2004, to general act as an alternative dispute resolution institution in development matters, in the Territory.
Specifically, the functions of the Tribunal is essentially to adjudicate on matters of contravention of the land uses between developers and the control department in the FCT; assist in enforcement of standards/ regulations; and settle disputes arising from resettlement issues.
The minister said in 2005, in a renewed effort to put in place the necessary safe guard for the Abuja Master plan, the FCTA reconstituted the Tribunal and, in 2008, a new framework for its operation was finally approved gazette as FCT Urban and Regional Planning Tribunal (Procedure) Rules 2008.
He said in reconstituting the membership of the Tribunal, the FCTA took adequate note of criteria for its mode of operation was done in line with best practices comparable to any in the world.
The minister however advised the members of the Tribunal to have in-depth knowledge of the requirements of the Abuja Master plan, as they are necessary tools for the adjudication of disputes on issues of land administration, control and enforcement.
Peoples Daily reports that the Chief Judge of the FCT, Justice Ibrahim Bukar, who was represented at the occasion by Justice Salisu Garba, administered the oath of office to the 5-members of the Tribunal.
The reconstituted Tribunal is to be chaired by Ebenezer Lufadeju, with Engr. Sani Katagun Haliru, Akhigbe Klein Irenen, Arc. Gabe Ugochukwu Adimorah, Aliyu Musa Yawuri as members representing
Engineering, Architecture, Survey and Bar professional bodies respectively; while Zaliha Ahmed will serve as its Secretary.