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Federal Government Out To Crumble AIT As Demolition Of Abuja Premises Begins

The Development Control Department of the Federal Capital Territory Administration on Tuesday, demolished some structures within the premises of the African Independent Television at Padoma Hill, Asokoro, Abuja.

Bulldozers backed by armed policemen stormed the AIT premises around 11am and pulled down the gatehouse, a portion of the fence and a building close to the fence.

The private security guards engaged by the management of the television station said the FCTA officials came to their office and simply ordered them to leave the building.

“We managed to evacuate some of our properties and furniture like tables, chairs books and files before the bulldozer pulled down the building. Thereafter, it brought down a part of the fence and a building close to the gate. The men didn’t tell us the reason for the demolition,” one of them said.

Our correspondent, who visited the scene observed about 15 armed policemen and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence officers at the site of the demolition.

But the FCT Administration in its reaction, said the fence and the buildings were demolished for illegally encroaching on allottee’s land, adding that an agreement had earlier been reached with the management of DAAR Communications, owners of AIT, to pull down the illegal structures.

The coordinator, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council, Umar Shuaibu, who addressed journalists on the development, stated that the removal of the structures was not intended to inflict any pain on the owners of the property “rather to enable other citizens to have access to their legitimate properties.”

He said, “Specifically, in November last year, the management of DAAR Communications led by High Chief Raymond Dokpesi paid a courtesy visit to the FCT Minister and they were received on his behalf by Chief of Staff to the FCT Minister, Bashir Mai-Borno who led the FCTA team made up of relevant directors and others in the discussions.

“The purpose of the discussions was to resolve the protracted dispute regarding the actual size of land legally allocated to DAAR Communications as against the area covered by their perimeter fence.

“The whole idea was for both parties to mutually agree for a settlement that would bring about the permanent solution and forge ahead for the development of the FCT and the nation at large.”

After very fruitful deliberations on the areas of contention, Shuaibu said each side expressed satisfaction with the new reconciliatory approach and the sincerity in reaching a logical and peaceful conclusion.

According to him, both parties agreed to visit the site for an on-the-spot investigation of the area, adding that surveyors from both parties were able to identify the problematic areas on a satellite image map, leading to a common agreement on the need to remove the portions of the fence encroaching into adjoining plots of land belonging to other Nigerians.

He added, “Indeed, at that meeting, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, expressed confidence in the ability of the current FCT Administration to end the matter satisfactorily and pledged to abide by its outcome.

“Unfortunately, while everybody is happy and pleased that the issues have been resolved and in line with the commitment of both parties, DAAR Communications has been evasive in doing its part by voluntarily removing the illegal fence and other structures causing obstruction to their neighbours.”

The coordinator argued that the FCT Administration had no other option than to remove the illegal structures, stressing that with the demolition, other allottees were now free to access their land.

The AIT management could not be reached for comments as at the time of filing this report.

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