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Thousands risk displacement as FCTA moves to demolish houses near Usuma dam

Thousands risk displacement as FCTA moves to demolish houses near Usuma dam
June 19
20:54 2021

Some residents in Ushafa community in the federal capital territory have cried out over the planned demolition of their houses near the Usuma dam.

The residents lamented that the houses were marked for demolition without prior warning from the FCT water board.

The dam, a popular tourist site in FCT, also serves as a water source for some communities in the area.

TheCable learnt that the department of development control at FCTA recently visited the place and marked houses built near it for demolition.

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The move followed concerns raised by the FCT water board regarding the alleged encroachment of the dam area and the danger posed to residents.

Residents told TheCable that the planned demolition is without compensation and that no directive had been given to them not to build any structure in the area.

Kabir Usman, a resident, said that in addition to the lack of compensation for the planned demolition, the village has not been compensated by the FCTA since it took ownership of the dam.

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He said: “They said that the residents are encroaching the area and that the indigenes are taking over the land. But the indigenes here are saying no, that they only gave them the location to site the dam.

“This land was given out about 40 years ago, and it was not even to FCT administration as of then because it was under Niger, when Ushafa was under the state. Now that it is under FCTA, you need to properly compensate us for all that because we were not properly compensated even for the place you sited your dam.”

Another resident who identified himself as Abubakar said the community stand to lose their farmlands if the land is “snatched from us.”

“You can’t come and take my land, and then say I should not even farm or build on the remaining portions of the land. It does not make any sense,” he added.

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When TheCable visited the FCT water board, an official at the information department admitted that the houses have been marked for demolition.

She, however, faulted claims that the community was not informed not to build near the dam.

“It is true that some houses are marked for demolition but they were told initially to stay 500 meters away from the dam for certain reasons,” said the official who declined to give her name as she claimed not to be the agency’s spokesperson. 

“It is risky and they don’t even need to be told.”

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Mairo Barnabas, councillor Ushafa ward, also confirmed the demolition plans to TheCable when contacted, although he declined further comments on the matter.

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