RESIDENTS of Mpape, a suburb surrounded by mountains, a bustling town adjacent to the highbrow Maitama District in Abuja, the Federal capital territory, are currently leaving in fear of a possible demolition of their houses and properties by the FCT administration.
The residents, primarily low-income earners and petty traders, are always ready for the worst as they are constantly under threat of demolition of their houses.
It is common in the community to hear talks about the Federal capital development authorities coming with bulldozers to demolish houses.
The reason for their constant fears are not far-fetched; the land they built on has no government approval, and the area, according to the authorities, is a security threat.
The area’s closeness to the quarry site for construction companies is added to this.
The history of demolition in Mpape dates back many years ago during Adamu Aliero tenure as FCT minister.
In 2009, under the supervision of Adamu Aliero, owners of the houses and residents in Mpape watched with utmost disbelief and anguish as bulldozers from the Department of Development Control were mauling down their homes which had earlier been marked for demolition about a month ago.
Adamu Aliero had two months before then ordered that houses that were 100 metres away from the Quarry site situated in the area be demolished due to the health hazards and other dangers residents were exposed to due to blasting activities.
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) had earlier marked about 500 structures for demolition in the suburb of Abuja.
The Minister explained that the action was necessary to sanitise and minimise illegal developments in the area.
He disclosed that these are structures that have fallen within 100-meter distance to the Quarry site in the suburb and must be removed in accordance with the stipulated Town Planning Laws.
Under Bala Mohammed as Minister of the Federal capital territory in 2012, the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, marked 10,288 alleged illegal structures for demolition in Mpape.
Bala Mohammed said FCTA worked within the ambit of the law and in line with the Federal Government’s transformation agenda.
He said it was good to know that the court has justified the administration’s mandate for such action thus far.
He added that his administration had intensified consultations with village chiefs and residents over the 10,288 structures marked for demolition in Mpape.
Recently in August 2021, the FCTA, under the administration of Muhammad Bello, the current Minister of the FCT demolished several structures in Mpape; the Federal Capital Territory Administration FCTA rolled out its bulldozers, pulling down over two thousand illegal structures in the area.
Most of the affected structures were said to be roadside shanties, containers, and others said to be obstructing traffic flow.
After over three months of official notices and warnings to the structures’ owners and occupants, the demolition came.
The FCTA said the demolition was requested by the residents and landlords who came to FCTA asking the Minister, Muhammad Bello, to go and clear the road corridors.
As a result of these constant demolitions, Mpape residents now live in palpable fear and tension. The area filled with shanties and bad roads is the complete opposite of the nearby highbrow Maitama District, where the high and mighty in the FCT lives.
Speaking to the ICIR, a resident of the area, John Akovie, said the community’s uncertainty has made it difficult to plan or put a solid structure on the ground.
” I have lived here for years; in fact my first building was demolished. You cant plan here for fear of demolition. The government is always issuing us quit notice.”
Also, speaking to The ICIR, a shop owner, Emmanuel, said the high crime rate in the suburb is giving the government a genuine excuse.
” My brother this area is filled with crimes and cultism. The crime rate is very high so the government always use it as an excuse to demolish and it is justifiable if you ask me, ” he said.
Mpape is under the Bwari local government area of the FCT.