The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has vehemently criticized the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) over a proposed demolition of buildings, labeling it as a declaration of war against the impoverished population. The NLC, a prominent labor union in the country, expressed strong concerns about the potential consequences of the government’s decision.
During a national symposium held in Abuja, NLC President Joe Ajaero voiced his disapproval of the FCT Minister’s intention to raze illegal structures, emphasizing that the reasoning provided by the government lacked credibility. According to Ajaero, the true motivations behind the move remain obscure, with the purported master plan shrouded in secrecy.
Ajaero urged that any demolition plans be put on hold until viable alternative shelters are provided for the affected poor individuals. He denounced the proposed action as a violation of basic human rights, asserting that the government should explore ways to legalize these structures rather than resorting to destruction.
The controversy traces back to the earlier promise made by the FCT Minister, a former governor of Rivers State, to eradicate all unauthorized buildings and structures in the Federal capital. This initiative was positioned as a step towards restoring the integrity of the Abuja Master Plan. Alongside this demolition drive, the Minister also threatened to revoke land allocations that remained undeveloped and to reclaim uncompleted buildings that had inadvertently transformed into hideouts for criminals.
In a resolute stance, the Minister vowed to take a strict approach, sparing no one, regardless of social status, who had violated the master plan or encroached upon designated green areas. He also announced his intentions to ban motorcycle and tricycle operators, open grazing, and roadside markets within the FCT.
NLC’s President Ajaero, addressing the audience at the symposium titled “Nigerian Economy and the Crisis of Survival: Robbing the Poor to Pay the Rich,” vehemently challenged the FCT administration’s stance. He condemned the alleged campaign to drive the impoverished population out of Abuja, characterizing it as an asymmetric war where individuals were being penalized for inhabiting areas not outlined in the elusive master plan.
Ajaero lamented the continuous demolition of modest shelters built by the poor, highlighting the lack of designated areas for their habitation in the city. He underscored the dire consequences of the proposed demolition, drawing a stark parallel with the horrors of history. Ajaero’s remarks alluded to the Holocaust, cautioning that the potential scale of human suffering resulting from shock over the planned demolition could surpass even those dark chapters in history.
As tension mounts and discussions intensify, the fate of the planned demolition remains uncertain. The NLC’s vocal opposition has cast a spotlight on the potential human impact of such an action, prompting a broader conversation about the balance between urban development and the well-being of vulnerable populations.