The Federal Capital Territory Administration on Monday in Abuja warned residents against inscribing “Gbagyi house” on illegal structures marked for demolition.
Ikharo Attah, Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement to the FCT Minister, issued the warning.
He spoke when he led a team to demolish illegal structures at Kabusa village.
Attah stated that while the administration would respect the rights of the original inhabitants to resettlement and compensation, it would not hesitate to pull down all illegal houses belonging to non indigenes.
He warned those who allegedly collected money from the owners of illegal structures to desist before the law would catch up with them.
Attah said: “We are not touching houses of the indigenous people.
“We are clear on that.
“They have rights to resettlement and compensation.
“But those who are non indigenes, who have become so mischievous to go and write all over their houses: ‘Gbagyi House,’ we see that there and when we get there, we know the indigenous houses.
“We have men who are undercover agents and have been living there and have guided it.
“So those who are non indigenes and are writing such inscriptions on their buildings, we will remove all of them.
“The indigenes are here.
“The native Chiefs are here.
“The Senior Special Adviser to the Minister on Youths and Community Relations is here.
“They know their houses and we also know the indigenous houses as well.
“Those who collect money from non indigenes to give them cover will not stand.”
The Minister’s aide said the team would sustain demolition of illegal structures in Kabusa until all illegal structures fuelling insecurity in the neighbourhood were removed.
Attah added: “There have been cases of kidnapping around some key estates around here stretching down to the Apo axis, which we will be taking down every illegal settlement around here.
“We will be doing all of that and continuation of what the Department of Development Control started.
“That’s the removal of illegal structures where FCTA allocate lands and people sold the land to other people without papers and they built upon it.
“I don’t know how many houses will go down today, but as many as the illegalities you see around here are going down.
“Many have taken off their roofs.
“That shows they know they are illegal structures and must play host to the bulldozers.”
On his part, the Special Assistant to the FCT Minister on Community Relations, Isaac David, said the original inhabitants would always welcome any form of development in their communities.
David, however, appealed that the welfare of the indigenous people, which was backed by the constitution, be respected.
He said: “We know it is a development, but we have to look into the welfare of the indigenous people, which is backed by the constitution, to remain in the FCT.
“This is pending when development gets to their communities and they will be considered for compensation.
“I am here to ensure that such laws are not violated.
“The rights of every Nigerian should be protected.
“We are appealing to the Development Control to step down their actions today so that we can have the opportunity to pack their things.
“In spite of the fact that markings were done, notices were given, people still thought that the demolition would not commence.”
David said the government has been sensitising residents through the media to stop buying lands from traditional rulers.
He added: “The indigenous people in FCT have customary rights over property in FCT.
“That is why some issues are being looked into critically because they are constitutional issues.
“There are certain issues that the FCT Minister cannot do, but can only be addressed by the National Assembly by implementing some particular section that gives the indigenous people rights.”
Also, the District Head of Kabusa Village, Chief Zawu John, appealed to the FCT Administration to suspend the demolition till the end of the rainy season.
John said: “Look at how people are running about to save their properties and this is the rainy season.
“We are pleading with the minister to stop this demolition so that we can have the necessary meetings and understand ourselves before any other thing will take place.”