By Stanley Onyekwere
Following last week’s flood incident that claimed a family of 5 in Giri-Kpasere, along Airport Road, in Gwagwalada Area Council , the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) yesterday commenced demolition of about 102 houses built along water channels and flood plains in the area.
Most of the affected buildings including makeshift structures for trading and recreational activities were either soaked with flood water or situated on flood plains in the area.
According to the Officials of the FCT Department of Development Control said the structures mostly built without approval have been marked more than one year ago, and that government had given the residents enough time to move out of the flood prone areas.
Speaking during the exercise, Deputy Director, Monitoring and Enforcement, Department of Department Control, Garba Kwamkur, noted that government could not spare the houses anymore, following the recent forecast of more rains and consequential flooding that will affect the area.
Kwamkur explained that the community is part of the land covering about 260 hectares allocated within the Abuja Master Plan for the development of the University of Abuja, Gwagwalada, but some indigenous people and other squatters are staying there temporarily.
“The university has written to us about the encroachment issue. The settlement here that’s due for resettlement has grown beyond it’s boundary. And we have issue of flood some time last week, where five persons, who were carried away by the flood, were confirmed dead.
“We actually had to discuss it with the village leaders on the need to move away from the flood plain area. FEMA has also predicted that there would be heavy flood this year, so we are doing something like a precautionary measure, that’s why all the buildings along the flood plains will have to go.
“ And all contravention notices have been given as far back as last year (2019). No government will sit down and do nothing when the lives of its citizens are being threatened by either flood or any other thing”, he stressed.
He adds: “e counted the houses are to be affected , roughly they are about hundred and two (102) houses are going down.
“In general, the law in Abuja, you can only build with an approved planning permit, but these houses pull down don’t have permit, so we are enforcing the law.”
On his part, Chief of the Community, Mr. Isah Egari who said he is not opposing the demolition of the houses built on the water channels, however, pleaded with government to give the residents more time to move out from the affected places.
Egari also called on the demolition team to restrict the bulldozers to the areas close to the water channels, so as to not impose undue hardship on other residents who were not affected.
On the notion that the land belongs to University of Abuja, the Community leader insists: “This land doesn’t belong to the University of Abuja, and if it’s their land they should report to the court of the law, we will be there, and we will see who will win.”