Residents Seek Tinubu, Wike’s Intervention Over Illegal Demolition Of Houses By River Park Estate

Residents and property owners at the Committee on Resettlement and Development Layout popularly called CRD Layout in Lugbe, a suburb located along the Airport Road in Abuja have cried out and called on President Bola Tinubu and Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) , Nyesom Wike to intervene in the unlawful and illegal demolition of their houses by the River Park Estate.

 

 

The residents made the call on Thursday in Abuja while addressing journalists over the latest invasion of their community by thugs and hoodlums who forcefully deployed bulldozers to pull down their houses and vandalise their properties.

 

 

The Chairman of the community, Abdulwasiu Mustapha, who spoke on behalf of the community accused the estate owners of taking law into his hands by assuming the role of Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) and Chief Security Officer of the FCT by deploying thugs and hoodlums to demolish their buildings, harass and terrorise the community.

 

 

He said the CRD Layout in Lugbe was allocated to them with the title documents by the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) 15 years ago and they had been living in peace without any molestation.

 

He wondered how a single individual could be so powerful to the extent of subjecting the entire community including children and women to untold hardship by sending hoodlums and street urchin after them thereby exposing them to danger and attack.

 

 

He insisted the title documents and right of occupancy issued to them by the relevant government authorities had not been revoked and there was no way their title documents could be reallocated to another  person.

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One of the landlords was said to have been stabbed in the stomach by the hoodlums in the latest demolition that took place two days ago with about six buildings demolished.

 

 

“Our community has been existing in peace for more than fifteen years until we started experiencing the activities of the land grabber. We have made several efforts to resolve the matter with the relevant authorities but all to no avail.

 

 

“I don’t want to talk about the litigation aspect of it but to speak about the intimidation, harassment and lawlessness of the developer of River Park Estate.

 

“He brought thugs and hoodlums to terrorise the residents and demolish our homes. We have reported this at the Lugbe Police Station even to the Commissioner of Police.

 

“He has assumed the role of FCDA by bringing bulldozers to demolish and vandalise our properties.”

 

One of the landlords, Raphael Igu who also spoke at the event said the community took the matter to the court in 2011 to avoid the breach of public peace.

 

He said the matter eventually ended in their favour as the court affirmed that their title documents were genuine and they were the right occupants of the Layout.

 

“In 2007 he started laying claim that the Federal government has allocated this place to him and since then we don’t have rest if mind . He will come here with thugs and criminal to harass us .

 

“At one point, our people took him to court in 2011 because we don’t want a breach of public peace and at the end of the day the matter ended in our favour in 2014. All the arguments he canvassed that federal government gave him the place and that we were illegal occupants were all trashed by the court .

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“He went to the appeal court and the appellate dismissed his case but despite the court judgment, the man, Odili was still harassing us here pulling down our houses.”

 

 

Meanwhile SaharaReporters gathered that the community also reported the matter to the Assistant Inspector General (AIG) Zone 7 who dispatched a team on the fact finding mission in the area.

 

The community said they reported the matter at the National Assembly and also appeared during a public hearing on 14th May 2024  where the committee asked them to bring their title documents for verification. The committee found out that their documents were all genuine and Lugbe.

 

Odili was said to have connived with the Divisional Police Officer  (DPO) and other top FCDA officials and illegally carried out the demolition and unleashed mayhem on the residents.

 

The residents, most of whom are retired civil servants and pensioners, urged President Tinubu and the FCT Minister to wade into the situation to avoid an  implosion capable of resulting in an avoidable multidimensional crisis.

 

In a video obtained by SaharaReporters, bulldozers were seen pulling down the structures and fences while the hoodlums were busy attacking the owners, looting  gates, roofs, iron rods, electric meters, furniture and other valuable items.

 

Since 2014, the residents said  Odili, through his firms, Houses for Africa Nigeria Limited; Jonah Nigeria Limited, and Paulo Homes Limited in River Park Estate, has been waging a series of illegal wars of conquest to achieve territorial expansion of his allocation into CRD land area.

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“CRD layout, covering a land area of about 474 hectares, was created in 1996 by the FCDA to relocate and resettle persons affected by the dualization and expansion of the Airport Road within the Lugbe 1 area.

 

All efforts to get reaction of Paul Odili to the allegations were unsuccessful as repeated calls to his mobile phone were not answered and did not respond to the text message sent to him.

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