Trademore residents protest against planned demolition of estate

RESIDENTS of Trademore Estate in the Lugbe area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have protested against the planned demolition of the estate by the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA).

The residents staged a protest against the planned demolition on Monday, July 3.

The FCDA had announced that it will demolish structures on waterways in trademore and across the nation’s capital. 

According to a statement by the FCDA executive director, Shehu Ahmed, the structures in communities such as Trademore Estate, disrupting the natural water flow, are responsible for flooding recorded in some parts of the city.

He explained that despite the Administration marking many buildings in the estate, the occupants refused to vacate.

The planned demolition followed the recent reportedly in the estate that claimed the lives of some residents on Friday, June 23.

Several houses, vehicles, shops and other properties were damaged by the flood, which also displaced scores of residents.

According to reports, it was the fifth flood incident in the estate since 2014.

Residents of the estate, said to be mostly civil servants who are still paying mortgage on their houses, have kicked against plans by the FCT authorities to demolish structures in the estate.

Speaking during the protest, chairman of the residents association, Adewale Adenaike, said the Trademore residents were the victims of the flood caused by a lot of water channels and tributaries diverted into the estate.

“Like I said earlier during the press briefing, the protest is a result of flooding in Trademore. Trademore residents are simply victims of the extended flooding situation in Lugbe. 

“A lot of channels and tributaries have been diverted into Trademore and that is to give way to other estates and what we expected was that the government agencies would do the needful by ensuring that all those waters are diverted away from Trademore.”

Adenaike argued that the demolition planned by the FCTA was totally unnecessary as the estate is not sitting on a flood path.

“The demolition that they plan for Trademore is totally unnecessary because that’s not the reason. We are not sitting on the flood path, we are sitting like any other properties in Abuja.

“There’s no reason for demolition and  we are asking through this medium, telling government agencies to come to our aid, let’s get together to find a lasting solution. We have experts on our side, they will come together with experts of the government side to come up with a lasting solution,” he added.

Adenaike further dismissed claims that the estate was not approved by the FCT authorities.

“Trademore Estate was assigned by the former minister of the FCT, Nasir El Rufai and it was approved by AMAC at the time. Over 2,000 houses were built in this estate, on airport road of the FCT. I don’t understand how that could be illegal.

“We also have a section of the estate commissioned by the then vice president of Nigeria. I don’t understand how the Vice President would commission illegality.”

A resident, simply identified as Olu said he used all his life savings to purchase his house in the estate.

“The government coming up to say that they want to destroy Trademore is an illegality because Trademore is not the problem, it’s a technical issue that can be handled. As a house owner, that’s almost 60 years, I used all my life savings to buy the house for my family and the government approved that land.”

He appealed to President Bola Tinubu to come to their aid and find a lasting solution to the crisis. 

The ICIR had reported how over 100 families were affected by flooding in the estate on Friday, June 23, after an early morning rainfall.

Some residents who spoke to The ICIR narrated how water flooded their apartments and shops.

Abutu Nafisat, a 24-year-old salesperson at an electrical gadget store on Lugard Street, Phase 1, said she was alone and terrified when the flood came.

She also noted that the water got very close to the ceiling of her store.

“If one of estate security had not come to rescue me, I might have drowned in the water,” she said. “Because of the level of the water, there was nowhere I could go, nothing I could do. I was so terrified that, at some point, I started crying. 






     

     

    “We lost goods that cost millions as a result of the incident. It’s a devastating experience.”

    Another resident, Jacob Sule, who lives in Phase 2, said he recently moved into the estate, and was not aware that the area was prone to flooding or had experienced flooding in the past.

    He explained that his clothes, shoes, home appliances and gadgets were destroyed by the flooding. “I lost so much that I can’t count them all,” he said.

    “I just learnt that this is a recurring crisis. The authorities need to contain this problem. It was a very nasty and bad experience. Psychologically, it is disturbing. I hope it never rains again.”

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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