*Tasks government on the collapsed housing and transportation sectors in Abuja…
Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy Group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has come very hard on the political administration of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja led by the Minister Muhammad Musa Bello just as the Rights group has described the FCT authority as authoritarian, wicked, and without any strategic approaches on resolving the increasingly disturbing housing problems and the public transportation crisis in the nation’s capital. The Rights group said any government that lacks a human face, lacks empathy and consideration for the poor in the society is nothing but a scam.
HURIWA said the incessant draconian practice of demolition of settlements of struggling residents of the Federal Capital Territory by the administration without any alternative arrangements or policies to cushion the gross housing deficits that afflicts the nation’s Capital is nothing short of operating a government with no plans on solving basic social and rconomic challenges confronting the large majority of residents who are too poor to hire flats in the city centre which goes to the highest bidders at exorbitant prices of over N2 million Five hundred thousand Naira for mere three bedrooms flat in such places as Wuse, Garki, Area 1, and even Apo resettlement centres.
HURIWA accused Directors in the Federal agencies of government in Abuja and the Law makers at the national assembly for creating the housing crisis by hiking the rates of renting accommodation in Abuja and frustrating efforts to address the unstructured practices of landlords who charge tenants exorbitant prices because the tenants can not have recourse to the law since there is no check and balance on the cost of accommodation because these elite in government owned these houses in the metropolis. HURIWA accuses these evil minded landlords who are Directors and legislators of causing the housing scarcity since the majority who can’t pay these high costs are for Ed to resort to doing all kinds of things just to find shelter over their heads and those of their families.
HURIWA also faulted the lack of any sort of policy implementation that addresses the need to set up low cost housing assets by government for the purposes of renting it at affordable rate to residents, many of whom have no decent accommodation to lay their heads and yet over 90 percent of these residents of these shanty and unfashionable settlement areas that have sprang up in different parts of Abuja due to scarcity of accommodation and the high prevalence of poverty amongst majority of Abuja residents have compelled many Abuja residents to just find just anywhere to be able to cool off the accumulated tensions of daily hustles in Abuja.
The Rights group also carpeted the FCT administration for lacking the scientific acumen to introduce and implement effective public transportation system in the city. The group lamented that civil servants who reside far away from the metropolis are forced to climb at the back of pick up vans of Police operatives and other unserviceable cars just to be able to commute to and from work daily.
HURIWA recalled that the Federal Capital Territory Administration, (FCTA), on Thursday, removed what it calls illegal structures obstructing the Jabi-Dakibu road corridor just as the senior Special Assistant to FCT Minister on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement, Ikharo Attah, who led the cleanup in Idu area, in collaboration with the Department of Development control, Security Services, Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) and all relevant security agencies were at Idu early on Thursday morning.
The SSA to the minister decried the rate at which people encroach on road corridors in Abuja and said the minister is very sad and would continue to reclaim the road corridor from the illegal squatters.
He, the SA to the minister of FCT was quoted as staring thus: “We are in Jabi-Dakibiu, reclaiming the road corridor where people built and encroached upon. Land is exhaustible; when people finish selling land, they start selling the road corridor just as responding to the complaint of the residents that they contributed N10, 000 in order to dissuade FCT staff from removing their illegal structures, the SSA said, “It is a sad irony, once your place is marked for removal just pack and move to another place, no single indigene is here now. The FCT Minister Malam Muhammad Bello has warned us over taking of bribe from anybody and today we have come to remove it and the person who collected the money I’m sure is not here. Those who gave bribe are already weeping and trying to pack their things. I will advise them not to give bribe and not to build on the road corridor again.”
HURIWA through the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko condemned the frequent resort to brute force by the FCT administration against the same poor residents that are the life wire of most if not all of the public institutions in Abuja but whose Monthly salaries are hardly enough to rent them a self contained room anywhere within the places captured under the so-called Abuja masterplan. HURIWA will be writing to the new President of the National Labour Congress Comrade Joe Ajaero on the need for the organised labour to defend their members who lack decent places of accommodation in the FCT but yet are in their offices daily.
HURIWA said the draconian and satanic implementation of this so-called housing masterplan by government without any workable socio-economic masterplan for improving the situation of housing in the nation’s Capital is nothing short of operating a fascist government which is unconstitutional and illegal.
HURIWA described the incessant demolition of houses of the poor without alternative places of abode as a crime against humanity and is offensive against the constitution because it denies the residents the human dignity that they are obliged to have under the chapter 4 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
HURIWA is asking the federal capital territory administration to quickly address the housing crisis and the collapse of transportation system for public utility in the nation’s Capital to avoid possible uprising of the poor, marginalised and the humiliated.