The embattled developer of a perennially flooded estate, Trademore, is fighting back by exposing the complicit Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and getting a court order to stop, for now, the planned demolition of the place.
Trademore’s damning summation of their plight and how it came to be is a recurring decimal with other estate developers, who by commission or omission have become targets of complicit government and officials over the last two decades, when government began its massive housing development scheme in Abuja.
The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Wednesday granted the request of the owners of the estate, but it is left to see if the Federal Government will damn the court or appeal its decision.
Or, as has been done in the last few years, obey court orders and wait for another of tragedy. And the cycle continues.
Not less than five lives have been lost in the estate in the last two years and hundreds of millions of Naira worth of properties lost, but the estate owners, Trademore Holdings, have told the court and world, for the umpteenth time, why the relevant government agencies are at fault.
In court documents filed by Prof Mike Ozekhome,Trademore complained to the court about earlier illegal, wanton, and unconscionable demolition of buildings belonging to innocent occupants in the estate by agents of the government when it was clear that the three floodings ever experienced in the estate since it was built in 2007,were all caused, not by the Plaintiff or occupants of the estate, but by acts of gross negligence occasioned by the Defendants; or through outright inaction by agents of the Federal Government, by refusing to implement any of the anti-flooding measures jointly devised and agreed upon at various meetings and through several correspondences by representatives of the Federal government and Trademore Holding International Ltd ( owners of theTrademoreEstate.
The Plaintiff argued, amongst others, that if the Defendants through the Ecological Fund had not built a very narrow carnal instead of a huge bridge to allow free passage of water coming from a now broken down and disused dam that runs through several adjoining settlements, coupled with several unstrained excavatory acts of other developers in the area, there would have been no incidence of flooding in the estate.
They sought the court to restrain the Hon Minister of FCT, the Federal Capital Development Authority ( FCDA), the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council ( AMMC ) and the Abuja Municipal Area Council ( AMAC ) from demolishing the estate with the buildings and appurtenances thereon; or evicting the occupants from the said Trademore Estate; or from trespassing on in any manner howsoever, into the Trademore Estate, Lugbe, Abuja; or from carrying out any further or fresh demolition exercise of any structures or buildings in the said estate; or in any way interfering with the plaintiff’s exclusive right of ownership and possession of the said property.
Granting the order, Justice Zubairu Mohammed High Court No 51, Jikwoyi, ordered the status quo be maintained and an interim injunction restraining all the federal government defendants and their employees, agents, officials, privies and all those purporting to be acting for them or deriving title from them, and any other persons howsoever and whomsoever called, from trespassing, or further trespassing on, demolishing or further demolishing Trademore Estate, known as Plot 1981, Sabon Lugbe, Abuja.
Everyday.ng reports that on Wednesday that bulldozers were rolled out in Abuja, but they did not come out on account of estates and structures built on flood plains. However, they left in their trail sorrows and tears on Monday.
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) demolished illegal structures in Gishiri village, Katampe District of the Federal Capital City to forestall any possible security breach in Abuja.
The Administration has. therefore, called on owners of plots of land in the affected Gishiri community to hurry up and reclaim possession of their property.
Accordingly, the Administration is determined to bring sanity to the area, in its resolve to finish up demolition of illegal structures sitting on people’s plots in the area posing a threat to security wellbeing of the city.
The officials of FCTA Department of Development Control, accompanied by joint security personnel, stormed the area with two bulldozers on Monday, pulling down more than one hundred illegal structures.
District officer overseeing Katampe and Mabushi Districts, Samson Atureta, explained that the demolition exercise has been sustained to ensure there was no return to the areas cleared.
His words: “There are so many illegal developments and the village extensions harboring criminals, that’s why we had to clear them, because these extensions are even on peoples legally allocated plots.
“So, what we are doing here is to ensure that all those developments that are village extensions are removed in order to dislodge men of questionable characters. We are, however, careful not to tamper with the houses where indigenes or natives are living in,” he stressed.
One of the affected persons, Mama Blessing, who runs a drinking joint in the area, laments: “Even though we know that they will come and do something like this, at least they would have given us enough time to leave and relocate to another place.”
While some affected persons decried that they renewed their rents barely one week ago, others lamented that their landlords were forcing them to pay their rent before their residences were pulled down.
Meanwhile, owners of plots in areas earlier demolished have started taking possession of their property as perimeter fences were seen erected in compliance with earlier calls for them to do so.