Journalism in the service of society

FCT: Wike denies reports of plans to demolish slums

THE Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, has denied reports of plans to demolish slums in the city, saying they were mischievous publications aimed at deceiving the public.

Wike was reacting to several publications yesterday that there were moves to demolish over 30 slums in the FCT which had earlier been surveyed by the Federal Capital Development Authority before this administration.

The reports noted that the slums located in Garki, Jabi, Nyanya, Kubwa, Gwagwalada, Mpape and other parts of the FCT as well as over 6,000 illegal buildings have been earmarked for demolition following his vow to restore the master plan of FCT.

But in a rebuttal, the former Rivers State governor said the reports were false as there were no immediate plans to carry out demolition exercise in any part of the FCT.

A statement issued by the Director of Press in the office of the Minister, Anthony Ogunleye, which debunked the stories, said they were figments in the imagination of the writers and purveyors of the fake stories.

The statement entitled “Stop the mischief, misinformation: Setting the record straight on false publications and broadcast on purported Abuja demolitions”, said there was no truth in the stories.

Part of the statement reads:

“We are compelled to address recent news articles in the media, that claimed that the new FCT Minister, Barr. Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, is embarking on a demolition spree targeting 6000 houses across 30 settlements in Abuja as well as the Wadata Plaza.

“We would like to categorically state that these stories are entirely false and without any basis in reality. The story on demolition of 6000 houses was reported by a national daily newspaper on the 22nd of August 2023 with the caption “Abuja land: FG may revoke land allocations, demolish 6000 buildings, slums” while another mainstream newspaper also published this highly irritating story: “Wadata Plaza will go down, Reactions trail Wike’s demolition threat”.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Minister did not in any of his pronouncements list the areas or the number of illegal houses to be removed, rather his emphasis has always been that illegal settlements and structures would be removed for the greater good of the public.

“The Honourable Minister has consistently demonstrated a commitment to responsible urban development and the welfare of the people even while he was the governor of Rivers State, a commitment he has assured residents within the FCT since he assumed office as Minister. The claim that he is orchestrating large-scale demolitions is not only inaccurate but also lacks credibility

“Such sensationalist reporting not only misleads the public but also undermines the vital role that accurate and well-researched journalism plays in our society.

“We encourage journalists, bloggers and media outlets to exercise responsible journalism by verifying information from authorised sources before disseminating it to the public. Fabricated stories, such as the ones in question, only serve to damage the reputation of respected public figures and create unnecessary anxiety amongst the citizenry.

“We want to emphasize that the Honourable Minister remains steadfast in his dedication to improving the quality of life for all residents of the FCT. Any claims to the contrary are purely the result of misinformation and should be treated as such.”

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