Over 200 structures at the Nuwalege community, along the Airport Road in Abuja, have been demolished to allow for the recovery of the land belonging to the Nigerian Air Force.
The Federal Capital Territory Department of Development Control which carried out the demolition exercise, said the structures had to go to make way for the expansion of the presidential fleet area.
The Director of the Department of Development Control, Mr. Mukhtar Galadima, told journalists after the exercise, that the Chief of Air Staff had approached the FCT Administration last October over their intentions to remove some squatters from the said land.
He said the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, impressed it on them that it was the responsibility of the Federal Capital Territory Administration to remove squatters.
According to him, “We informed the residents residing on the Nigeria Air Force land about the impending action and granted them a two-month window to pack their belongings.
“When the Air Force approached us, we told them about the FCTA policy on relocation and resettlement of indegenous communities. However, other non-indigene are to be moved out of the location so that the Air Force can take over their land.
“There was serious sensitisation and campaign as regards to the exercise. We went there, we marked the structures to be removed and we informed them and gave them ample time until after the yuletide so they can remove their valuables.”
Mr. Galadima said the structures belonging to indigenes were however left out because statutorily, they have to be relocated and compensated, for the demolition of their property.
“During the demolition process, approximately 150 buildings were razed, with an estimated 70 more buildings slated for removal before completion”.
The Director, however, asked the Air Force not to commence any work without obtaining approval from the Department of Development Control, insisting they will have to submit their development proposals for vetting and approval before they can commence any development on the reclaimed land.
Some of the residents who were seen moving their properties out of the area said most of them were non-indigenes who bought plots from indigenes with the assurance that government had ceded the village to indigenes.