We regret Abuja demolitions, but won’t stop it, says FCT Minister

 The Federal Government says it is planning a social housing scheme for the residents.

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed, Sunday, said the Federal Government is pained by its decision to demolish some communities in Abuja.

Mr. Mohammed, who said this in Abuja when he led some Muslim leaders on Sallah homage to President Goodluck Jonathan, said the decision was to secure the country.

“What we are doing is to secure the nation, to secure the Capital and to secure the residents and including us and we are highly pained,’’ he said.

The Minister said the government was aware of the hardship the demolition would cause, but that it was a necessary exercise to rid the capital city of undesirable elements.

“I will seize this opportunity to say that the demolition and other social services we are carrying out as an administration is not something that we like to do but it is something that we have to do with a lot of pains,” he said.

Plans mass housing

Though hundreds of thousands of residents of the FCT will be rendered homeless by the demolition, the victims need not suffer for too long as the government is planning a mass housing scheme for them, Mr. Mohammed said.

“I assure them (the victims) that under his Excellency President Jonathan, we are coming up with social housing that will accommodate the needs and aspirations of every Nigerian, especially those that are affected by the demolition.

“At the end of the day, we will carry out an exercise where they will be registered. We will be able to provide them with affordable housing and in a place where they will like,” the minister said.

Mr. Mohammed also assured Abuja residents that the FCT Ministry was committed to their well being.

Senate can’t intervene

The Senator representing Abuja, Philip Aduda explained why the Senate cannot prevent the Abuja ministry from demolishing the earmarked structures.

He said the National Assembly had been constraint in waving into the matter because it was a subject of litigation before a competent court of law and it would be prejudicial to go into it.

Mr. Aduda said they had been discussing with the executive arm of government to ensure palliative measures for the victims and that the exercise was not carried out during the rainy season.

“It is not true that we have abandoned them (the residents). The issue is that we are discussing. We have discussed with the Minister, we have discussed with the President and we are coming up with palliatives,” Mr. Aduda said.

He said he and other representatives were discussing” behind the scene” with the minister, and the president,” to see where they can bring up palliatives and to see that if they must demolish, it must be minimal.”

The Senator said it was unfair of the Abuja ministry to render people homeless during the rainy season.

“The demolition should be time-framed. I have discussed this, that this is a rainy season, there is no way you want to say you will move people out immediately. We have to give some time if it must happen,’’ he said.

The FCT ministry plans to commence the demolition of the Abuja communities on August 31, starting from Mpape. However, the Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, last week, advised Mr. Mohammed and the FCT Ministry not to demolish Mpape based on advice from an Abuja High Court.

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