Worried over the incessant land grabbing in Abuja, residents of Lugbe, a satellite town in the Federal Capital Territory have sought the intervention of the Federal Government and the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to tame the tide.
The land dispute is between the Lugbe Community Residential Development (CRD) and the River Park Estate owners in the community.
The CRD site situated along the Airport road which covers about 474 hectares of lands was acquired by members of the public since 1996 with its own layout separately.
However, a developer of River Park Estate on October 9 allegedly moved in with armed men and police officers as well as bull dozers to unleash mayhem on the innocent residents of the community.
Expressing their grievances through a peaceful protest, the residents appealed President Muhammadu Buhari, the FCT Minister Muhammad Musa Bello and other appropriate authorities to come to their aid.
Speaking on the development, one of the affected victim simply identified as Mr. Rufus Olatunji lamented that he bought land from the FCDA in 2010 without any premonition of crisis.
He said, ’’ I went as far as Abuja Geographical Information System (AGIS) to confirm the genuineness of the land paper. I am just surprise that a developer from nowhere will come and grab my lad.
“My challenge is that a man whom we did not know before now encroached on our land with the effort to sell to the developers of the River Park Estate which has been a serious challenge because of the man’s influence in the society.
’’He brought his boys to unleashed mayhem on us during one of our landlords meetings. Even mobile policemen accosted those armed men to the extent that I escaped by the whisker because I was attacked’’ Olatunji added.
Also, Mr. Stanley Nwaokike who spoke on behalf of the protesters said that he has been living in the estate for the past 10 years after he legally acquired the land from Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC).
’’Early in 2014, we discovered that River Park started encroaching into our area, bulldozing and falling trees and what
actually got our attention was one of us who was building then got his building demolished,
so because of that outrage we all rushed there and we were able to meet the tractor man, policemen and officials accosting them to demolish houses and we told them that this place was not River Park area.
“We brought our own layout and asked them to bring their layout but they came with layout which we don’t know where it came from and we were able to tell them that their own layout was not registered with the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA).
They (Police) started beating few of us who were there and started trying to cow us back to our various homes so that they could continue. We have suffered serious from this man since we started.
“Paul Odili has continued to unleash mayhem upon our residents. We mobilized to stop them but he mobilized police officers with Fulani herdsmen and beat us mercilessly and we rushed the victims to the hospital.
With the information available to us, this land was acquired to members of the public since 1996. CRD has its own layout, separate layout; recently a policeman shot a truck moving with block to one of the sites on the order of this man.” He lamented.
He urged the FCDA who signed the layout into Abuja Master Plan to look into the matter, adding that the layout was standing on its own and has no link into River Park area.
Also speaking, Mrs. Oluwayemisi Florence Moses who also said that they legally acquired the land wondered why some people will come from nowhere to forcefully take over their land.
“We have our paper we confirmed the genuineness of the paper. We went to AGIS and went to AMAC to confirm that the
layout was correct before we started building.
The major challenge is the trouble we are facing from River Park Estate, especially the management headed by Paul Odili.
I had a nasty experience I’ve never experienced in my life when we were home and we just saw some people digging, strange faces around our house and the scenario looked as if there was a war somewhere because it was only my children and I were at home, with six months old baby.
“We peeped through the window and saw some strange men not too well dressed and policemen.
They were building fence surrounding our house and one of the officers told our guard that we should move out of the house that they were coming to bulldoze our house, it was like a dream as if I was dreaming.
I had no clue of what was happening and they came truly with the bulldozer, they blocked us, fenced us.
Initially no exit, no way to enter to the house and we were there with little baby at risk. We could not even move the car in or out and they came with armed men and police.
In fact, it was a horrible experience for little children to have that nasty experience hearing gun shots from right and left.
“They fired tear gas canister at us when some people were trying to prevent them from doing that. He has been intimidating people with the Nigerian Police who are supposed to be our friends.
“This is a genuine land even it is rightly stated on the Abuja Master Plan, so it is amazing that such could bring trouble.
To sleep sometime inside that house was hell because I was afraid of what would happen in the night having herdsmen around you, having an understanding of what they did in some places. So, I couldn’t sleep very well again because I never experienced it before.” She stated.
Mrs. Moses therefore called for peace, and urged government to come to their rescue in the area.
Daily Times recalls that the present administration since assumption of office frowned at the irregularities being experienced by land allottees and had set up committees to resolve the issue.