Three months after about 500 houses were demolished in Minanuel Estate, Airport Road, Abuja, by the Federal Capital Territory Administration, the subscribers have condemned the silence of President Goodluck Jonathan and other officials of the Federal Government on the matter.
The houses were demolished by officials of the Development Control Department of the FCTA on October 1, 2012 because the developers allegedly did not obtain necessary approvals and the land on which they were built had reportedly been allocated to some senators.
However, the Minanuel Estate Subscribers’ Union said it was a thing of regret that the Presidency had kept mute over the development, while there had not been any form of compensation for the developers and subscribers or any hope of resettlement.
The spokesperson of the union, Mr. Festus Adebayo, said in a statement made available to our correspondent on Thursday that the seeming silence of the President had betrayed his avowed commitment to public-private partnership in housing provision.
Adebayo said, “We want to say it categorically clear today that if President Goodluck Jonathan is really committed to housing Nigerians, he would have ordered for a probe of what made 500 Nigerians lost their homes at a swoop from the evil bulldozer of the FCT Minister.
“The President would have ordered for our resettlement or have we committed a crime by aspiring to own a home in our country? Destroying 500 houses is like destroying a village; our hopes of home ownership have been murdered and still the government that is supposed to protect lives and property has refused to console, investigate, compensate or resettle us. We collectively reject this kind of fresh air under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan.”
The union said though the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, had recently highlighted the achievements of the administration in the area of housing, it challenged him to tell the whole world the number of Nigerians, especially in FCT, who were rendered homeless through “inhuman and illegal demolition” in 2012.
Adebayo said, “It is impossible to believe President Goodluck Jonathan’s commitment to public-private partnership in housing development when the investment of developers, banks, and subscribers are not protected.
“The FCTA does not demolish housing estates until when the houses have been completed and until when those who paid for the houses are preparing to take possession.”
The subscribers condemned the recent threat of the Minister of the FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed, to demolish another 31 housing estates, saying if carried out, the action would kill the hope of another set of subscribers.
Adebayo said, “The threat is not against the developers in FCT, but is a threat to demolish the economy of the Federal Capital Territory and indirectly demolish the economy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“There is no way President Jonathan and the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development can genuinely keep their promises of making housing available for Nigerians, no matter the number of times they make the promise. The issue of Minanuel Estate demolition must be addressed, the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, must be removed, and the Development Control Department and land administration system must be repositioned.”
He called on the Chairman, Senate Committee on FCT, Smart Adeyemi, to prevail on the FCT minister to compensate the subscribers and resettle those who paid to own a home.
The subscribers’ representative also called on the international community and human rights organisations to mount pressure on the Federal Government to see to what he called the “great injustice.”