By Stanley Onyekwere
There is palpable tension and anxiety among residents of the Labour Camp at Nyanya, in the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) over the planned relocation of the settlement to Gidan Daya.
Peoples Daily recall that the FCT Administration had resolved to relocate the Nyanya Camp, which is one of FCT’s most popular slums located less than 10 kilometers from the Abuja city centre, was built about 30 years ago for early construction workers involved in the building of the new Federal Capital City.
Also, Gidan Daya, the chosen relocation site for Nyanya is a new district located on the Karshi axis within the same AMAC.
However, a across section of the residents, who spoke to our correspondent said since the announcement of the planned relocation, many of them has been living under great fears and uncertainty in the area, as they have no other place to go.
According to the concerned residents, they can no longer sleep with their two eyes closed, as there is no stipulated time frame for the commencement of the exercise.
They insisted that the move is another manifestation of government’s insensitiveness to issues affecting the poor harmless people in the society, instead of looking inward and try to resolve problems without causing pains to people.
A resident, Akin Tunde, who described the development as another unfortunate fire brigade approach of handling issues affecting the society, predicted that it would succeed in achieving the desired objective.
He said the excuse upon which the relocation move is predicated cannot stand the test of time, suggesting that instead the government should consider rehabilitating the area without moving the inhabitants.
“If not for our leaders’ usual nonchalant attitude to issues of great importance like this, why wait till now before thinking of addressing the problem, they have enjoyed all this while.
“ This is why things are not working in this part of the world, as those who are supposed to know best appears not to know what to do, and only to always come up with measures that would subject people to untold hardship,” another resident, Mrs. Uzomma Okoro stressed.
In contrast, a few of them hailed the decision to embark on total relocation of the settlement, describing it as a necessary step towards ensuring the provision of decent condition of living for all residents in the FCT, irrespective of their status.
Meanwhile, explaining the rationale behind the relocation move, the Minister of FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed said that it was to ensure environmental and security standards as well as make way for the provision of decent housing for the residents of area.
The Minister, who spoke during an interactive session with some newsmen in his office, said that the present condition of Nyanya was an eyesore and unbefitting. He said that the builders of the camp planned it as a temporary camp, hence the kind of structures that were erected there.
Mohammed noted that the current security challenges in the country, especially insurgency, have made the relocation of the Camp even more compelling.
According to him, the FCT Administration has taken several measures such as demolition of some buildings to enhance security and environmental sanity in Nyanya but added the situation can be salvaged without relocation.
The Minister restated the commitment of his Administration to the provision of affordable and decent housing for Nigerian workers stressing that the gesture was behind the recent flag off of the construction of 40,000 housing units for workers in Abuja, a gigantic project which covers two districts in Apo Tafyi and Lugbe extension respectively.
He said the land swap policy which he introduced in FCT about twoyears ago has helped to accelerate development via triggering of theprocess for the opening of over 10 districts within the next fouryears.
He further explained that he embarked on the globally acceptable programme to catalyze infrastructural development and generate fundsfor the FCT as a response to dwindling budgetary allocations from theFederation Account.