Amnesty International condemns Abuja demolition

A global rights group, Amnesty International, has condemned the demolition of Dubaidna Durumi 3 village days after the forceful eviction of the inhabitants of the community.

A joint statement by Amnesty International Nigeria and Dubaidna Durumi 3 village made available to journalists in a press conference in Abuja on Thursday stated that two of the community members were shot while others were being rendered homeless and disposed of the means of livelihood.

It was reported that the eviction which took place on August 17, 2022 left hundreds of people homeless and jobless as some homes and petty-trading shops were pulled down, triggering a mixture of fear and anger among residents living in unplanned areas within the country’s capital city.

The Country Director, Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, said the organisation had called on the Federal Government to refrain from enforcing these evictions and take action to prevent them as Nigeria was a party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

“We are working very hard to ensure that every person, regardless of their status in society, has a place. Nigeria belongs to us all and not just to a selected few,” Ojigho said.

The community, while recounting all their ordeals, said they had faced many intimidations and threats from real estate developers who said the village of Durumi 3 had been allocated to them.

Furthermore, Amnesty noted that this harassment had been done despite the lack of genuine consultations and adequate notice by the government and real-estate developers with the indigenous inhabitants of the community. No resettlement plan or compensation, according to the organisation, had been put in place.

On his part, the community leader, Ismaila Gandaba, said, “We employed the services of the lawyers and asked them to write a letter to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory informing him of what is about to happen, but our letters were not responded to.

“They came and didn’t notify us; all of a sudden, the security men started marking. We confronted them because usually, they write to the village chief, rather they said the notice was from the minister.

“If they can relocate us, we will go and leave their land for them. It is not the government that wants to use the land but private developers.”

Also speaking, the community women leader, Tella Paulina, while recounting what transpired, said while they tried to take pictures and videos to send to various social media platforms for help to come, their mobile phones were snatched and smashed by officials of the FCT Administration Department of Development Control, personnel of the Nigerian Army, Nigeria Police Force and some other security agencies.

“Women have been rendered homeless. The women of Durumi 3 are mostly business people. Right now, we don’t have a market or hospital, and we don’t have good schools for our children to attend. The houses we are living in, we are just managing with our families,” she said.

The FCTA Department of Development Control said the demolitions came as a result of a high level of insecurity and the assumption that some communities might be harbouring criminals.

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