Residents of a community in a suburb of Abuja were left in tears and picking up the pieces in the early hours of Saturday after the Federal Capital Development Authority demolished their houses.
According to Channels TV report, officials of the FCDA stormed Apo NEPA in the early hours of the day and the bulldozers they commandeered quickly went to work pulling down buildings that had been deemed illegal.
By the time the bulldozers departed and the exercise, said to have been coordinated by the Chairman of the FCT Task Force on City Sanitation, Ikharo Attah, ended, residents said more than 100 houses had been demolished.
Members of a family try to salvage valuable items from the rubble of their house
The exercise is said to have taken place months after the buildings were marked for demolition, according to officials who participated in the exercise. The community, whose residents are the original natives of the FCT, was reportedly on land meant for a road interchange and the residents had been asked to leave.
But the residents disagreed with the authorities and condemned the demolition, especially its timing with several of them telling Channels TV that some people were asleep when the crew arrived. They also said they were brutalised and tear-gassed.
Spokesman for the FCT natives, Yunusa Yusuf, insisted that the residents were not given adequate notice before the exercise was carried out.
According to him, the expected procedure is for the Department of Development Control of the FCDA to give a notice about the demolition.
“Nobody can say here that they came and gave a notice. There was no notice,” he told Channels Television. “Even if they say the people (in the community) settled here illegally, what notices did you give to them? How did you tell them that you were going to demolish their houses?”