Federal Government's Plan to Demolish Illegal Settlements and Buildings in FCT Raises Concerns
The Federal Government has unveiled plans to demolish approximately 30 illegal settlements and over 6,000 illegal buildings in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, as part of an initiative to restore the city's master plan. Nyesom Wike, the FCT Minister, made this announcement upon resuming office, stating that all unauthorized structures that disrupt the Abuja master plan will be razed, irrespective of their owners' status.
Wike emphasized that even structures belonging to ministers or ambassadors will not be spared, highlighting the government's commitment to rectify the city's urban landscape. The proposed urban renewal
project is intended to address the persistent issue of informal settlements and unregulated constructions in the FCT.
The areas expected to be impacted by this urban renewal
program encompass various regions, including Apo Mechanic Village, Dawaki, Durumi, Garki, Garki Village, Idu, Jabi, Kado Village, Karu, Katampe, Kubwa, Lokogoma, Lugbe, Mabushi, Mpape, Nyanya, and more. Additionally, those who acquired lands from Abuja indigenes might encounter complications, as these transactions are regarded as illegal by the FCT Administration.
Reports from 2022 indicated that approximately 6,000 abandoned homes could face demolition or land title revocation due to violation of building codes. However, this number could increase, as it does not account for the quantity of illegal homes or slums within the FCT, according to officials from the FCT Administration.
Muktar Galadima, Director of the FCTA Department of Development Control, noted the necessity of revisiting these figures through updated surveys to reflect the current situation accurately.
Wike's vision for the FCT also includes the revocation of lands that have remained undeveloped for prolonged periods. He is determined to dismantle structures that deviate from the Abuja Master plan, even if it means confronting powerful individuals. The minister has also expressed his commitment to eco-friendly practices, reclaiming green spaces, and ensuring prompt property development.
Wike's appointment as FCT Minister stirred speculation of sanctions by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). However, he clarified that his nomination was part of a broader directive from President Bola Tinubu, wherein all governors nominated 10 individuals each. Wike communicated his nomination with party leaders before accepting the position.
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The minister also aims to revive the FCT transportation sector by reintroducing mass transit buses and controlling motorcycles within the city center. His administration intends to enhance peripheral regions' development, alleviate congestion in the city center, and foster progress in the outskirts.
While the government's urban renewal
initiative aims to enhance the FCT's urban planning and development, concerned residents have expressed apprehension about potential property demolitions. They implore Wike to consider the impact on residents and work toward solutions that do not exacerbate existing hardships.