Abuja Indigenous People; in search of home land

The city of Abuja as the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria,was chiseled out in 1976. Its life as an administrative edifice started when the aborted Okah coup forced IBB to flee into the fortress called Aso Rock Villa. Abuja has only three regimented entrances, namely Kogi-Gwagalada, the most port-hole infested of all entrances to Abuja.Niger (Suleja/Zuba)- Kubwa and Nasarawa-Karu. Companies whose life wire is dependency on unfinished inflated government contracts, followed the Father-Christmas to Abuja.
Since the forward march order by IBB to all and sundry to relocate its head office to Abuja, Abuja has become the fasted growing city in Africa. There is constant vibration of excavators, spikes of welding rods and the glittering helmet of German expatriates. At every turn, there is a new construction springing up. One needs only to be away from Abuja for two weeks to appreciate the rapid changing skyline and topography.
From Clinton Boulevard through the city gate to the major streets, Abuja is beautifully lit like a Christmas tree. This illumination hides the filth of Abuja. Any tourist on his way to any of the five star hotels, will find it difficult to believe that Nigerians live on the brink of decent into the bottomless pit of poverty.
As the dream of Abuja developed, the indigenes (dominantly Gwaris ), were to be relocated to resettlement areas. These areas were to be designed to take care of the native pottery industry of the Gwaris hence preserving their way of life. Unfortunately, these internally displaced indigenes have found their government allocated houses, bought over by civil servants whom the government that posted them to Abuja could not provide accommodation for. With offers less than a bunch of firewood, the illiterate indigenes are swindled and with active connivance of the state apparatus, the Gwari relocates to the bush or the unfriendly fringes of his government allocated settlement. Without sounding doomful, the day is coming when the Gwaris will be more problematic to handle than the rag-tag army in the Niger Delta. A good number of them are now going to school and the danger of educating the oppressed, is that it enlarges the oppressed mind and arms him/her to yank off the yoke of slavery. The Gwaris are coming armed with Franz Fanon’s Wretched of The Earth and unabridged edition of Pedigree of The Oppressed. Also in their arsenal is a copy of TIMES magazine, showing the resistance of HAMAS to Israeli occupation of Palestine. The Gwaris are coming to the realization that despite producing men of Timber and Caliber in the political equation of Nigeria, their collective welfare has not improved. Morealso these men are from Niger State, the blood brother of Abuja, as Suleja and Abuja are of the same father.
A trip to Lagos Street off Samuel Akintola Boulevard Garki 2, will show you the sharp contrast between the occupier and the indigene. A further trip to Jabi/Utako district, (el-Rufia the ex-minister of FCT, lives there) especially the settlement opposite Mr.Biggs, shows you the wickedness of the government to these people. Mark you, the above mentioned slum/ghettoes are in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC).
Apart from AMAC with her roads and high rise that will make the boys from Niger Delta kidnap more Oyibos, the other five area councils ( Abaji, Bwari, Gwagwalada, Kuje and Kwali) in Abuja are at best described as farm settlements. There are infi-decimal developments in these area councils to merely tap their natural resources for example water, granite, and sharp sand, to feather the nest of AMAC and provide a comfortable life style for the rich in Mitama, Asokoro and Apo legislative quarters.
Like ill fitted appendix, these other area councils are an impediment to the beauty of Abuja. It must also be remembered that the diminutive ex-minister, took his war of restoring the master plan more aggressively in these areas. After the war without reason and faithfulness to Rule of Law, the debris are still loitering all over the place with the wind blowing them into the water ways. The Federal Capital Development Authority tells who care to listen, especially the diplomatic corps that the development of Abuja is in phases. But the rate at which this 30 year old city is developing, one wonders if the child is not an imbecile. It’s this stunted growth that has made the city centre congested and house rent unpayable by an honest civil servant. Even the houses sold by the government were bought by them them and the Directors and Staff of FCTA who bought through a pseudo name, have fixed a shylock price. A 2 bedroom flat goes for nothing less than N500,000 in the low income areas of Garki and as low as N1,000,000 per annum in Asokoro-Aso Drive, Mitama-Ministers Hill. This has driven the people into the sub-cities which el-Rufia made sure did not survive and started reclaiming the Abuja master plan without first demolishing Aso Rock Villa that informed sources have it, is on a recreation park. With this incursion into the Gwari resettlement areas, land becomes scarce and the reclaimed lands by the bulldozers of the impish minister are left wasting and a breeding ground for the emerging area boys in Abuja.
These area boys are actively used by the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) to cause mayhem and abuse the residence of Abuja. Some go to the extent of burning people’s property. Head of this arsonist group, is Ladi Tazang. Another vibration of the emerging area boy syndrome is the one used by Abuja Development Control,Eviction Department prowling with a Toyota bus No CT 520A11 and protected by one peper soup belled Nigerian Police Sergt. Innocent Eke. From their build, they resonate fear into any occupant of Ad Hoc committee on sale of government houses that they are not here to listen to reason. These goons after spending time in the gym or backyard lifting cements and dumbbells constructed from flywheels and other scraps, carelessly throw out people’s properties despite their team not having any court order, nor will the respect the valid tenancy agreement of the occupier. The worst of these variations is found on the roads with spike toothed planks. The manner in which these council wearing bibs thrust the nails into the road, one wonders if Road Safety ought not to arrest these boys as they pose threat to the road users. Enquiry by this writer showed that they are empowered by the Senate Committee on FCT to raise revenue as the 2007 revenue was below expectation.
Whose expectations? The Senate rather than unlashing these area boys should initiate a community based projects in these area councils and employ the Gwaris to monitor revenue collections from cars with red coloured plate numbers. These revenues can be peacefully collected with active collaboration with NLC and her affiliated National Union Of Road Transport Workers/Employers.
But come to think of it, what has been done with the revenues collected? Is this not the issue at the back of the Niger Delta uprising and the area boys in Lagos, who have turned extortion into a fine art claiming that every inch of the Eko belongs to their fore-fathers and any developer must settle the shons of the shoil. Don’t be deceived, the Gwaris are no fool and a day of reckoning is coming, except the government takes a step to integrate the Gwaris into the contemporary Abuja and provide good incentives, I fore see doom for the “fastest” growing green city in Africa.


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