A detachment of soldiers have invaded Galadimawa, a Gbagyi community in the Federal Capital Territory, demolishing classrooms and over 50 houses.
The soldiers, who arrived at the village around 11am on Monday with three bulldozers, started the demolition in the community primary school, where they pulled down an uncompleted block of classrooms before moving to other structures.
The exercise was led by officials of the FCT Department of Development Control, but the identities of the fierce- looking soldiers could not be ascertained as they were not wearing any name tag and rank.
Some Galadimawa youths and women, who protested the demolition exercise by throwing stones at the military men, were beaten up and forced to roll on the ground.
It took the intervention of the Chairman, Abuja Municipal Area Council, Micah Jibah, to stop the demolition and douse the tension in the community.
The chairman said the community would not resist any government policy on demolition but added that such an exercise should be executed with a human face.
“The government has already planned to resettle the Gbagyi indigenes in this community, but the FCTA had yet to fulfill its promise,” Jibah told the soldiers.
The demolition team later left after some arguments with the AMAC chairman and the people of the community.
The district head of Galadimawa community, Alhaji Musa Barde,said he was not given any notice before the demolition squad came, adding that his people should be resettled and compensated before their houses were pulled down.
He said, “I was not given any advance notice before the soldiers and the FCT officials invaded our community to demolish our houses. The government should compensate and resettle us if it is sincere.”
The pastor in-charge of Evangelical Church of West Africa, Galadimawa, Bulus Baba, described the exercise as illegal, adding that the move would be resisted by the people if they were not resettled.
“No responsible government will release soldiers to unleash terror on citizens. Although the soldiers did not shoot anybody, they beat our youths and I don’t think this is proper,” he said.
The Public Relations Officer, development control, Kalu Enetu, confirmed the incident, saying only shanties and illegal structures were pulled down.