Demolition Hits Abuja Suburb, Affecting Several Businesses

A busy local business area in the outskirts of Nigeria's capital was visited by bulldozers, crippling local businesses that were already struggling.

A detachment of armed security agents and officials of the Federal Capital Territory on Saturday, June 3, 2021, stormed Lugbe, a busy suburb in Abuja and demolished shops and structures built close to the highway leading to the international airport.

The Task Force charged with ensuring adherence with the city’s ‘master plan’ stormed the area during rainfall with bulldozers, forcing shop owners out of their shops before the exercise.

Eyewitnesses told HumAngle that the demolition was the second of its kind within a space of three weeks.

Aerial view of Lugbe in the evening. Photo Credit: Bernard Daniel/HumAngle

After the earlier demolition barely a week ago, some shop owners began to reconstruct, and the bulldozers returned a second time.

Expressing their pains, some affected business owners lamented how complex the economy has been, therefore, the current loss of one’s source of income will only make life more unbearable.

“The government asks you to learn a skill, aside from your certificate, we did, and now we are being chased away from where we make ends meet,” Ifeoma, a food vendor, said.

A resident in the area who pleaded anonymity said the shop owners caused the revisit of the bulldozers.

According to her, “it was just days since the task force came to evict and demolish shops. They could have waited a while before rebuilding.”

Aminu, a foodstuff seller whose shop was also demolished, had to quickly move some of his goods to a nearby chemist to avoid a total loss.

Some of Aminu’s foodstuff at the pharmacist where he kept them after the demolition. Photo Credit: Bernard Daniel/HumAngle.

“The demolished shop is both my home and source of livelihood for myself and my brother. I bring my bed down and sleep on the floor after work every day. I don’t even know what to do as I speak now,” Aminu told HumAngle.

The demolished shop owners claimed they paid a considerable sum of money to get spaces and do not understand why the shops are being destroyed.

“The least you could get is a space to erect a wooden structure to sell your goods around this area is N100,000. That’s if you are even lucky to have space,” Obinna, another trader, told HumAngle, pointing to a small space of land.

Residents of Lugbe are apprehensive that after the shops, their homes may be next in line to be demolished by the FCT authorities.

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