By Stanley Onyekwere
Some FCT residents of Garki District, in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) have appealed to the FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello to intervene in the ongoing development of solid structures on a green area in their neighbourhood.
The concerned residents urged the Minister to halt the ‘illegal’ developments on the green area, situate at Zuru Close, Emeka Anyaoku Street, Area 11, in Garki, so as to save them from impending danger and also save the environment from destruction.
Making the appeal on behalf of fifteen other residents, Mr. Ayodele Olayinka while addressing some journalists at the site, wondered how possible it was for a tiny piece of green area, seemingly sitting on a drainage system, close to the road could be allowed to be developed into an estate.
Olayinka, who is the spokesperson for the neighborhood, suggested possible revocation and replacement for the developer, in a suitable place to avert disruption of peaceful coexistence amongst neighbours and preservation of the environment.
Olayinka, who is the spokesperson for the neighbourhood, suggested possible replacement for Behora in a suitable place to avert disruption of peaceful coexistence among neighbours and preservation of the environment. for green area and is obviously unsuitable for such development.
According to him: “We are appealing to the FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello, to step in and do something due to overriding public interest. Yes, we know the allocation wasn’t made during his time, but he can prevent the looming destruction of peace and safety of lives, as well as property of those already living here and equally save the ecosystem by preserving this endangered green area.
“But the surprising thing is that this man has necessary approvals for development and also approval from Parks and ecreation to fell the trees.
“If the green area was erroneously allocated to him (the developer), the Minister could revoke it and if it pleases him, allocate another land for him so that all the money he has spent trying to do something on this land will not be lost completely. We also feel it, it’s not that we have anything against him, we are only against what he wants to do here because it will affect all of us negatively.”
He continued: “I moved to Zuru Close in 2006 and met this place as a green area, with trees big enough for one to believe it was a green area. But suddenly, in 2011, somebody came that the place had been allocated to him and we told him that the place ought not to be a place for buildings to be out on.
“We took the matter to the FCT Urban and Regional Planning Tribunal. While wee were there, before judgement could be delivered, he said he wasn’t going to abide by it so he deserted. He later went to another court, we didn’t even go to that court with him, then he came with a judgement against us, and he said we were busy body.
“We kept quite. He went to another court to ask the court to restrain us from stopping him when he moved to site, and we had to go to the court to defend ourselves.
“At the end of the day, the judgement was delivered in his favour -that the place was allocated to him by government therfore, he has the right to develop the place, moreso when he has been able to get approval from the Federal Capital Territory Administration’s Department of Development Control.
“Our lawyer had filed for appeal of the judgement and stay of execution. Next, he reported us to the Police that we were trespassing on his land, conspiring to kill him. Eventually, we went there, I think the Police didn’t see any sign that we were people described as he had made us to look. At the end of the day, the Police told us that we should make sure we don’t make trouble with him if he comes to this place.
“So the next thing we saw was that he came with the Police on 13th of August, 2020 and fell all the trees you see on the ground. He initially came here twice with people from the department of Parks and Pecreation. Parks and Recreation withdrew.
“He came again one time with SARS and people from private tree felling organisations, they had to withdraw too, but yesterday, he was exported by the Police, so since we were told not to interfere any more, we decided to let them have their way.
“I think that government should have intervened and prevent a green area from being pulled down and replaced with buildings with an a allocation to one person, even when about 16 of us that reside here, and even those who are staying at adjourning locations. If the Minister does not save us, we are going to suffer some loss as a result of him alone having this place.
“So many people have benefits to derive from having this place than just one person’s interest. This development if allowed to go on will also negatively affect view of those driving from Ile Ife Street and entering Emeka Anyaoku Street, disrupt the drainage system, and impact negatively on sewage system in this area, among other facilities.”