Police avert blood bath at demolition site in Minna

The timely intervention of  Anti- Riot Policemen attached to the 12 Squadron Mobile Police Barrack  in the Niger State Police Command in Minna, Niger state capital,  last Monday, aborted what could have been a bloody face-off  between members of the State’s Urban Development Board and some irate youths  whose houses were included in some 90 houses earmarked for demolition in Gwabedyi Quarters, an outskirt of Minna.

Trouble began when the state Urban Development Board members stormed the rural  community in the Maitumbi area of Minna,  the state capital, at about  7:30 a.m . with their caterpillars to commence demolition of the  houses said to have been structurally defective.

Community News investigations further gathered that, the youths who allegedly got winds of the demolition exercise later mobilised to prevent the  exercise.

It was further learnt that the board later reinforced and started the demolition exercise before they were forced to flee the scene when the irate mob  in their hundreds,  became wild, brandishing dangerous weapons like cutlasses, axes,  nail ladened sticks, words, arrows, among others  and attacked  the bulldozer marked  D6 NGSG 37 as they pursued  some regular  policemen that were providing security  cover for the team.

No sooner than the crisis began, that residents and visitors to the community, ran for dear lives  in different directions for fear of being attacked by the irate mob, thereby leading to the near paralysis of both the commercial and social activities of the community.

In an interview with the Community News,  at the scene of the confusion, a landlord who identified himself,as  Alhaji Baba Adamu, accused the board of ignoring a court order, saying  that the board allegedly   carried  out an illegal demolition exercise.

He also alleged that  the affected people whose houses were earmarked for demolition were not given adequate quit notice  by the regulatory authorities, just as he accused the board of ambushing the residents of the area in what appeared   as  flagrant disregard of court orders and for allegedly  bringing untold hardship on  residents of the area.

Alhaji Adamu said two pregnant women were said to have  lost their babies prematurely  in the wake of the face off, following what he described as a resultant effect of the   shock of losing their houses.

The landlord cited  the  alleged pathetic case of a woman carrying an eight months old pregnancy,  Mrs Eze, who was said to have been  rushed to a private hospital for treatment after allegedly sighting the bulldozers  drafted to the area   to  demolish her four-year-old house.

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