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NIGERIA: ‘No Death Was Recorded in Gwarimpa Demolition Exercise’

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has insisted that no death was recorded at the controversial demolition exercise in Gwarimpa estate where a child was alleged to have been killed by the Department of Development Control's (DDC) bulldozer, while the mother was said to have committed suicide thereafter.

The Coordinator, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), Mr. Reuben Okoya, made this clarification yesterday in a press conference to address some of the issues raised by various media reports on the demolition exercise.

Okoya noted that up till the moment of reporting, there has been "no name, sex, age and picture or face attached to the child that was said to have been killed by the DDC bulldozer”.
According to him, the exercise commenced around 10am with the affected residents properly notified "and the exercise ended about 12.50pm.

"Only for us to receive a message in the evening that a toddler died and the mother committed suicide, but up till this moment, we have no names, no picture and up till today we have not confirmed any death", he said.

He further explained that when such incidents occur, Police was the first place to report and they were in touch with them on a minute by minute basis and there was no record of such report.
Also in the hospitals, he noted that the Secretary of Health was where such reports were sent to and there was no such report till the time of filing the report.

"We have no record of any happenings at least to Police, Civil Defence and hospitals", he emphasised.

  Okoya explained that because of the charged political atmosphere, some people or groups were cashing in on the situation to spread lies so as to make the government look bad.
"I don't want to say this is political but it looks very political as the news keep on flying with unverifiable figures.

"Even though we are still investigating, but we have to come out to address issues as it’s getting outrageous. We are saying that based on our current investigation, there is no death", he insisted.
Speaking further, Okoya was adamant that FCTA was committed to sanitising the Capital City irrespective of what he described as "the antics of people who are bent on playing politics.

"We will continue with our exercises, that this city remains sane and that the sanity of the city is maintained. You know this is a political period and some people might make out political gain out of this. Please if you have the names and information about this child, can you bring it along".

The AMMC boss further assured that the demolition activities were not meant to harm anybody but act according to the legal requirements, as they "absolutely obey court orders and do not violate court injunctions".

Also speaking, the Director, Department of Development Control (DDC), Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC) Mr. Yahaya Yusuf said that the exercise has always been carried out with absolute caution and respect to people's lives.

Yusuf insisted that there was no way their men could have finished the exercise and left without being hounded by the villagers if death was recorded.

"To say that a child died in that exercise there could not been a way we can come out from there without a riot. We recorded our exercise and there is no way there could not be disruption if there was death.

"What I am saying in effect is that there has been a lot of decorum in carrying out our exercise. I can assure you that no child died during the demolition exercise", he added.

He explained that the incident was said to have taken place in a Gwari settlement called Lungi, where Sahara, Sunshin and Holyfield developers were allocated to build estates followed due process.

He said: "Our coming here is to address not whether we followed due process in carrying out our exercise, but the mischief that followed it and blockage of roads. We had meetings with them and the Chief of Lungi who we gathered was involved in the sale and allocation of land to individuals.

"Notices were also served to them first on March 4, 2014. This lay-out has been so allocated that it was named plot 64 within that Kafe District and given to a developer called Holyfield Ventures".

About 54 illegal structures were removed in the exercise including 17 shanties, five  shops and one church.

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