In a contentious dispute, the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) has vehemently denied reports suggesting its intention to demolish 1,500 houses in the Zhidu community, near Lugbe Phase II, within the Federal Capital Territory. The residents, fearing eviction to make way for a private housing estate, have called on the FHA to reconsider and engage in equitable compensation and resettlement negotiations.
Accusations from the community assert that the FHA’s alleged decision not only infringes on constitutional rights but also neglects their welfare as citizens, casting a shadow on Nigeria’s global reputation. Kenneth Chigelu, Head of Press and Publicity Unit at FHA, refuted these claims in a statement, placing blame on misleading individuals engaging in land grabbing and extortion schemes.
Chigelu clarified, “Federal Housing Authority acquired a parcel of land from the Federal Capital Territory Administration for housing development, went on to carry out an enumeration exercise, and subsequently paid compensation to the farmers.” He pointed out that squatters had encroached on the land, particularly in the right of way of Ring Road, a critical access route.
Eight months ago, FHA, in collaboration with the Federal Capital Development Agency (FCDA), initiated efforts to identify and remove illegal developments within its land, affecting the Zhidu community. Chigelu stressed the necessity of reclaiming the land for planned development but affirmed that legitimate claimants could present proof of ownership and building approvals for documentation.
Amidst the uproar, Chigelu expressed surprise at the community leaders’ claims that the FHA planned to demolish the entire Zhidu community, issuing a two-week notice. He emphasized that the FHA would not be swayed by such tactics, reiterating its commitment to preventing slum development within its estates.
This controversy arises just two months after the FHA’s demolition of 677 houses and partial demolition of 774 houses in Festac Town, Lagos, marking a series of confrontations between authorities and affected communities.