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The Master Plan provided a policy for the resettlement of indigenes that may be affected by the anticipated city development interventions. The resettlement policy involves the provision of housing at the indigene resettlement schemes, compensation for their land and infrastructure, and the provision of adequate farmland. In keeping with the resettlement policy, sparing the homes of indigenes - pending the enumeration of residents, preparation of a resettlement site, and the eventual transfer to their new homes – was commonplace during the previous demolition regime (2003-2007). On that basis, indigenes of several rural communities along the International Airport Road such as Galadimawa, Chika, Alieta, Kabusa, Kuchigoro and Lugbe had survived the brutal demolitions and onslaught of forced evictions that swept through the FCT between 2003 and 2007 when Nasir El-Rufai held sway as the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory. As the demolition exercise in Gosa 1 village - which affected mostly indigenous populations - has shown, this policy has now been smeared with implementational inconsistencies and somersaults, casting doubts on its capacity to protect indigenes from infractions on their land tenure and forced evictions. Confusion, claims and counter claims becloud the issue relating to the length of notice given to the residents, whether indigenes or non-indigenes. In sharp contrast to the various evictees’ accounts across the demolished communities, the FCDA insists that notices were served, over a year ago, in some cases. SPACES FOR CHANGE studies on the pattern of forced evictions in Nigeria establish that notices are often as short as one week. While government officials usually claim that longer notices were issued, the evictees, in most cases, receive such notices only a few weeks or - even days - to their deadline. The Abuja Indigenes Mostly affected by the land dispossessions are indigenous communities situated along the International Airport Road. The indigenes, mostly of Gbagyi origin are reputed for their farming prowess. Today, the only goldmine they have: their farmlands, has been taken away without due compensation and handed over to rich property developers and powerful economic interests, effectively dispossessing them of their sources of livelihood. The famed tranquility that previously pervaded these indigenous settlements have most recently, metamorphosed into intimidation, apprehension and fear of total annihilation by the massive physical developments closing in on them. The congestion in the city center, combined with the ongoing massive road construction and dualization works along that corridor further makes communal lands attractive to property developers and investors. Promises of resettlement to more distant locations in Wasa – located in the distant outskirts of the city - remain unfulfilled as the lack of political will and resource constraints conspire to make the FCDA’s resettlement policy un-implementable and unrealizable. The resettlement program provides a three-pronged package comprising compensation, a fully constructed house and a complementary farmland. It also requires in principle, that movement of the populations and the accompanying land deprivations can only be enforced post-resettlement of indigenous populations12. However, compensation remains unpaid just as promised houses have neither been built nor handed over to their beneficiaries. Farmlands have not been acquired let alone delineated, but yet, the dispossession of communal lands and deprivation of livelihood sources have been rife despite the official acknowledgement of severe financial and resource-related limitations frustrating the implementation of the resettlement program.

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Meeting with Dr. Festus Esekhile, FCDA’s Director of Resettlement and Compensation on May 11, 2011

DEMOLISHING FOUNDATIONS OF PEACE

SPACES FOR CHANGE

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