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.