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Thousands evicted as Abuja cleans up

Posted by Reuters on 2005/12/09 | Views: 401 |

Thousands evicted as Abuja cleans up


Nigerian soldiers and police have evicted thousands from a residential area of the capital, Abuja, as part of a plan to avoid the city disintegrating into the chaos of Lagos and other Nigerian cities, residents and officials say.

Nigerian soldiers and police have evicted thousands from a residential area of the capital, Abuja, as part of a plan to avoid the city disintegrating into the chaos of Lagos and other Nigerian cities, residents and officials say.

Bulldozers began demolishing hundreds of concrete, brick and tin-roof houses in Abuja's Chika neighbourhood on Monday last week, former residents say, and more areas are set for destruction.

An Associated Press reporter saw the rubble of about 800 houses in Chika yesterday, as police patrolled with local government officials.

Zacheaus Shawye, who runs a nearby grocery shop, said that when the demolition began, people had nowhere to go. "They had to leave their property on the road," he said.

Shawye had to move out of his shop and home in Chika shortly before the demolition started and now sells the planks and roofing of destroyed houses along with his usual fare of soft drink and tinned food at a new store nearby.

Joseph Idahosa of Nigerian advocacy group Social and Economic Rights Action Centre said no new homes had been provided in compensation for those evicted.

"They have not provided alternative (housing) and they are carrying out the evictions and demolitions ... The alternatives should be there first," he said.

Most residents had left to look for places to stay in outlying areas of Abuja, he said.

A statement from Abuja's regional government said the removal of "illegal structures in Chika is not an isolated case, but part of the ongoing efforts ... to reclaim the sanity" of Abuja.


It said Chika was one of seven communities designated for demolition.

All people living in Chika before 1976 - when the project to make Abuja Nigeria's capital was announced - would eventually be resettled outside Abuja at the government's cost, the statement said.

However, Idahosa said that category - mainly people from Chika's indigenous Gwari ethnic group - accounted for only 30% of the area's residents. The rest came later, he said - many of them after ethnic and religious violence forced them to flee their homes elsewhere in the country.

Ulrika Sandberg, a researcher on Nigeria with Amnesty International in London, said the mass evictions were "a hidden human rights scandal".

"In Chika, people have not only had their homes bulldozed, but children have missed their school exams ... and some have lost their businesses," she said.

Amnesty International has estimated the number of people forcibly evicted from their homes in Nigeria - in Abuja and elsewhere - at over a million since 2000.

Nigerian soldiers and police had also been carrying out mass evictions in Lagos, said Sunny Baba, a spokesman for residents.

He said so far this week, security forces had evicted several hundreds of tenants from over 200 apartments at two sites in Lagos, with most of them being provided with no alternative accommodation. - Sapa-AP

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Kim Worley(Greeley, Colorado, US)says...

I heard this in a song and had no idea what it meant. Googled it and this came up. Very Cool. ????????????????

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Obinna(Newark Nj)says...

I want to know more meaning and significant of this name obidike in igboland

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Olusola Okhiria Nee Sodunke(Newport, Newport, UK)says...

This is a great piece of history, which is dear to our hearts as people and very much appreciated.

Many thanks to the people who worked hard in the past and those who are still making efforts to keep the institution.

The labour is obviouly worth it. We are proud of you all.

A lot still to be done, with the motivation of the champions of this course, others will follow as well to maintain the institution

May God continue to keep the edifice for development of future generations to the glory of God and the benefits of our fatherland.

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Joel Efiong(Calabar, Nigeria)says...

This is a great piece. The examination bodies should hire you as ICT consultant.

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Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

ULIMASI means' GOD,THANK YOU' not THANK GOD.