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Games Village residents kick as FCTA demolishes secretariat

The Games Village Residents Association (GVRAA), Abuja, has accused the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) of arbitrarily demolishing its secretariat located within the estate’s premises.…

The Games Village Residents Association (GVRAA), Abuja, has accused the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) of arbitrarily demolishing its secretariat located within the estate’s premises.

It was gathered that officials from the Development Control of the FCTA, accompanied by armed security personnel, yesterday morning forced themselves inside the estate and pulled down the estate’s office and a mechanic’s workshop close by.

Our reporter observed that the officials demolished a perimeter fence to enable them entry into the estate.

Briefing the press at the demolished facility, the president of the GVRAA, Alhaji Bukola Musiliu Adisa, said the officials stormed the vicinity around 10 am on Thursday and destroyed the secretariat, claiming that the structure has legal backing.

He told reporters that the secretariat was built by the federal government and was allocated to them through a Federal Executive Council (FEC) resolution in 2003.

“It was built by the contractor and was being used as a site office. After the COJA games in 2003, and the contractor finished his contract, the office was handed over to the association through a FEC resolution in 2003,’’ he said.

He maintained that even the association was established by the FEC resolution to manage the facilities left behind and ensure the security of the residents and their welfare.

He lamented that there was not even an hour’s notice issued to them. “They just invaded us and took us by surprise. Our staff were inside the office when it was demolished, though no life was lost.”

However, the FCTA debunked the claim, insisting that the management of Games Village was served several notices before carrying out the demolition. “There are correspondences to justify our action,’’ an assistant director at AMMC said.

He said, “The story behind this was when the Games Village was built it was superimposed on some plots in the Kaura District. But those plots were revoked by the federal government because of public interest. So, after the building of the Games Village, there were some plots not completely developed like where the association’s office was standing.

“In the wisdom of FEC, they met with the president in the council and agreed that all the empty plots that weren’t developed should be used on lease by the residents in the estate. Because during the COJA games, the athletes didn’t come with their children. So, they didn’t build a school for us. They left all this empty land for the development of social amenities for the residents.

“The truth is that the estate was built by the Federal Ministry of Works and when it is allocated to Nigerians, it’s transferred to the FCT. So, all the resolutions of the FEC were handed over to the FCTA staff. It’s in their files they didn’t look at it. So, what we saw was that they started allocating those undeveloped plots to themselves and they got approval from the FCT Minister that those plots were in the Kaura District; they never mentioned that they were inside Games Village.”

Meanwhile, the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council of the Federal Capital Administration has clarified the demolition of what it called ‘a mechanic shed and a building at Plot 1765’ in the Games Village area of the FCT.

The AMMC said the plot was allotted to the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council in 2012, for the construction of its AMMC Senior Staff Housing Estate.

Addressing the press following the demolition exercise, the AMMC Director of Admin and Finance, Naziru Isa, explained that the demolition carried out on Thursday concluded efforts by the AMMC to reclaim the plot.

He added that the illegal settlers had obstructed the contractors when they made initial efforts to begin construction on the plot.

Also speaking, the Assistant Director of Urban Affairs at AMMC, Abubakar Makama, stated that the reclaimed plot was allocated to the council in 2012, by the then Minister of the FCT, Nasir El-Rufai, adding that the council had previously issued quit notices, and acquired every necessary document, including its Right of Occupancy (RO), and receipts and tellers from the Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS), justifying proper acquisition of the plot.

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