March 4, 2024

This was following the request from the Nigerian Air Force.

Speaking through the director, Mukhtar Galadima during a community and citizen engagement on Tuesday in Abuja, the minister hinted that it becomes imperative that the community give way for the runway.

He said: “About a month ago, the authority of the Nigerian Air Force wrote to the honourable minister on their needs and desire to remove this village because it is part of the presidential fleet plots.

“So, the minister in his wisdom requested them to allow the FCT administration to handle it, because it’s the responsibility of the FCT administration. The Nigerian Air Force approached the Department of Development Control on their desire.

“So, as part of our responsibility, we have to do what you call a community and citizens engagement which is why we are here today to discuss with the community and to tell them of our intention, because it will be unfair to just bring the machine here and start removing their houses.

“So, we visited the chiefs at his palace to meet him and we told him our reason for coming to this place today.”

Speaking on the number of houses that will be demolished, Galadima hinted that about 150 to 200 houses with additional commercial stores that are attached to these houses will be removed.

While answering questions from reporters on the issue of compensating the affected natives, he said: “We will discuss with the Air Force, because obviously discussion behind the scenes indicates that some forms of compensation were paid, but we have to be certain that this compensation actually was paid, and also who was really given this compensation.

“We are going to conduct further investigation between FCT administration, that’s the Department of Resettlement and Compensation, as well as the Nigerian Air Force and find out if compensation has been paid, to whom and When.

“And then we will discuss with our colleague at the Department of Resettlement and Compensation whether, at any point in time, there was any compensation that ascertained their claims as regards the number of structures and people that are going to be affected by this expansion project.”

He further said: “There are certain things that we have to look into with consideration like the security because obviously, this part of some of these settlements is where you have some of these people of the underworld trying to disguise and hide.

“And looking at this, Air Force formation, which is the presidential fleet, is too close, for this thing to co-habit. So we will see if there is an urgent desire to remove part of this community, and we will do it.

“So, we have to do some community engagement. It is not the entire community because we have gone around and we have seen the areas affected by the presidential fleet plot and the areas that are outside that plot.”

Speaking of the expectations of the village chief, Galadima noted: “At least we have given him the respect as a high-class person. We have discussed and informed him why we are here and we are coming back again for a wider consultation, involving the Nigerian Air Force, our colleagues, and then the community heads. So I think we have done the needful by engaging them adequately.”

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