Our attention has been drawn to a notice for demolition by the administration of the Federal Capital Territory which has marked over 1000 houses in Mpape one of the 19 villages of Bwari Area Council of the FCT. The residents with a population of over 1.8million people feel that their human rights have been violated. The inhabitants claim that the FCT map reveals clearly that the area was earmarked for the indigenes of the FCT for use as farmlands, but was later sold to the residents as residential area. Recall that under the jurisdiction of the law this move can be seen as forced eviction. Furthermore, considering the time of the year – the raining season, many women and children are left to suffer the harsh weather conditions. Some people that site their business areas in Mpape and its environs also find it difficult to cope with this harsh reality of this demolition.
Similarly, residents also claimed to have expended hard earned resources on provision for roads, electricity, water, hospitals and other basic amenities to improve their livelihood.
It has also come to our notice that this forced eviction has caused the death of seven lives in its stride, but that the administration has not shown any remorse towards that.
It is also understandable that these residents may have been given prior notice by the FCDA, however, owing to inherent poverty the nation has been plunged into with recent fuel hike that more than doubled the prices of food and other commodities, most citizens find it difficult to meet their responsibilities such as ability to afford two year rent for another decent accommodation elsewhere.
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre CISLAC, is calling on the Federal Capital Territory Development Authorities to reconsider their actions towards Mpape residents and 18 other villages, even though they had been given prior notifications, this is to enable residents to buy more time to sort themselves out before movement. This is based on humanitarian ground considering that women and children are involved in the displacement.
CISLAC also calls on the relevant committees in the National Assembly to further look into the plight of Mpape residents and other affected areas with a view to bringing succour to these Nigerians.
Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)