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Widespread calls for integration by indigenous community leaders and representatives have been ignored or rejected outright, denying locals of their right to propose alternatives as required by law13. Community concerns about imminent loss of identity and cultural heritage have not been taken seriously. Historical relationships in which indigenes and other community representatives have always been tokenized have seen officials reluctant to engage communities in meaningful and culturally appropriate ways. As a result, the perspectives of local populations are almost never sought or taken seriously in the conception, planning, and implementation of developmental programs and initiatives that bear directly on their welfare. Within this context, the United Nations in 2008 adopted the Declaration on Indigenous Peoples14. Even though still controversial, the Declaration marks the first natural step towards encapsulating the traditional cultural beliefs, practices, values, institutions and systems into the paradigm of development. Therefore, development becomes so when pursued in tandem with respect for peoples’ basic aspirations including cultures and traditions. Although the FCDA authorities acknowledge the fact that mistakes have been made, especially as regard the quality of engagement with communities, there is yet to be seen any serious effort or attempt to reverse the selfidentified anomalies by responding to the needs and circumstances of communities through a diversified range of support measures which are able to accommodate their concerns for adequate shelter, access to socio-economic opportunities, preservation of identity and community support networks, defense of ancestral and cultural heritage. It is instructive to note that most of the indigenous communities relied on communal efforts to build up and maintain other infrastructural services. Residents and the locals constructed internal roads themselves, and they maintained their roads by grading and sand-filling them. Since the government failed to provide any water treatment facilities, they dug wells for their main source of water, as well as collected rainwater. Their water supply was not filtered or treated. Lacking sewage disposal and treatment facilities, some used the pit-latrine toilet system, while others used the bucket method.

Gosa 1 Village Demolitions

"I was born and raised in this community. The soldiers destroyed my home, my small shop ‌.everything. That is why I am living under this tree with my grandchildren. I feel so much pained that I am now living like a refugee in my homeland". - Mama Hauwa Dangana, 78

Gosa is one of the indigenous communities located along the Airport Road, with the indigenes’ occupation of the land predating the creation of FCT. In addition to being a theater for state-private collusion to further deprive the citizens of their landholdings and entitlements, Gosa raises a third problem of how security enhancement programs of government are being exploited and hijacked by state actors to exacerbate the already substandard living conditions in informal communities.

13 14

Article 38 of the Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development - Based Evictions and Displacement Declaration on Indigenous Peoples: www.unhchr.org

DEMOLISHING FOUNDATIONS OF PEACE

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