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Friday, June 14, 2024

Lugbe Demolition: Again, distressed residents cry out to Tinubu, FCT Minister against River Park



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Distressed residents and property owners in Committee on Resettlement and Development (CRD) Layout, in Lugbe, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, have sent a passionate appeal to President Bola Tinubu and the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, to save them from the continued harassment and demolition of their homes and properties by the developer of the River Park Estate, Paul Odili.

Odili, a well known land grabber in the FCT, who is also known as Paulo, has been working in connivance with some officials of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) to wreack havoc in the community by demolishing homes and reallocate their lands to private estate developers for millions.

In a “Save Our Souls” petition, copies of which were sent to several relevant government authorities, including the Minister of the FCT, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, National Assembly and the security agencies, the residents said they have been subjected to series of harassments and intimidation by Paulo since the beginning of the year using officials of the Development Control Department of the FCDA.
On the 7th February 2024, some residents returned home from work to find demolition notices pasted on the walls of their buildings by persons who claimed to be officials of the FCDA.

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The residents said the notices informed owners of the affected houses that their properties were marked for demolition within 21 days to make way for a central market and a road corridor in the area.

The residents expressed surprise that the Layout, which has been in existence since 1996 with fully developed properties, including markets, shopping centres, schools and worship places, would be converted into a general market without the knowledge of residents and land owners. There has been no official notification from either the FCDA or FCT about a formal revocation of the land titles allocating their lands to the residents.
The residents, most of whom are retired civil servants and pensioners, urged President Tinubu and the FCT Minister to wade into the situation to avoid an implosion capable of resulting in avoidable multi-dimensional crises.

Since 2014, the residents said Paulo, through his firms, namely Houses for Africa Nigeria Limited; Jonah Nigeria Limited, and Paulo Homes Limited in River Park Estate, has been waging a series of illegal wars of conquest to achieve territorial expansion of his allocation into CRD land area.

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“He has taken the laws into his hands by illegally demolishing at will people’s houses, using thugs recruited from some neighbouring states, along with Policemen assigned to protect him fight against residents,” a frustrated resident whose building was demolished on Monday lamented to our reporter.

As a result of the crisis, most residents substained injuries, while their lives have been subjected to play things in Paulo’s hands.

On Monday, one of the property owners was stabbed in the stomach several times by Paulo’s hired thugs and left to bleed and battle for survival in the hospital.

Several other residents and property owners also suffered series of injuries following bloody attacks by the hoodlums brought into the community by Paulo to chase them out of the properties, while bulldozers had a field day demolishing buildings in the community at Paulo’s instruction and personal supervision.

The community anxiously awaits a resolution to the land dispute pending in court and a petition to the National Assembly on the matter, hoping for a peaceful and fair outcome that would end the threat of demolition, stop the ongoing crisis, and bring stability to the area.

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