The authorities of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the Abubakar Baraje breakaway faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have drawn the battle line on the planned demolition of the faction’s secretariat in Abuja.
The building has continued to be under siege, with riot policemen mounting guard around it.
The FCT yesterday insisted that the building, located in the high brow Maitama District in Abuja, would be demolished for alleged violation of land use.
FCT Director of Development Control Yahaya Yusuf said the location of the building was meant strictly for residential purposes and that converting it to a party secretariat violated the Abuja master plan.
In a telephone interview with our correspondent yesterday, Yusuf said there are about 202 of such buildings in the capital city. They will be pulled down, he said.
But the Baraje faction of the PDP dared the FCT authorities to demolish the building and face the legal consequences.
The faction’s National Publicity Secretary, Chukwuemeka Eze, who also spoke with our correspondent on the telephone, said: “Let them go ahead and demolish the building. We can assure them that we are going to rebuild it with money from the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“We will sue them for willful destruction and they will be made to know that the building belongs to a Nigerian citizen with constitutional rights to own property in any part of the country, including the Federal Capital Territory.”
To Eze, the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, is pushing an agenda to destroy President Goodluck Jonathan, stressing that under no circumstances would a minister embark on such a destructive mission.
He continued: “The minister has been mandated by some forces to find a way of destroying President Jonathan and he has happily embarked on that mission. That is why he is doing something that is not expected of him.
“He does not have the powers he is arrogating to himself. Bala Mohammed is confused. He is undemocratic. He is being wicked. Such a person is not worthy of the position he occupies.”
The spokesman regretted that President Jonathan had failed to understand the altruistic mission of the breakaway faction, adding that “otherwise, he would not be treating a political party as if it’s a personal estate”.
He recalled the case of Sokoto State Governor Aliyu Wamakko who was suspended from the PDP simply because he did not pick the telephone call from PDP Chairman Bamanga Tukur.
Eze also pointed out that Governor Rotimi Amaechi was suspended from the party for not rescinding a decision by the Assembly suspending the executive of a local government.
“I recall that the same building was being used as the national secretariat of another political party, the National Democratic Party (NDP), before we acquired it,” he said, adding:
“At that time, they did not realise that it violated land use now they want to demolish a building simply because they perceive the owner to be anti-government. What do we make of this madness?”
But the Public Relations Officer of the FCT Development Control, Kalu Emetu, who clarified the position of the FCT authorities, said that the directive is for the building to revert to residential use and not for commercial purpose as it is being used by the faction.
Emetu warned that failure to revert to residential use would lead to the FCT sealing off the building until the directive is obeyed.
The PRO said in situations where residential areas are used for commercial purposes, the available facilities, such as water, electricity and other amenities get overstretched.
This, he said, puts pressure on the facilities leading to a breakdown as a result of the large number of people using such limited facilities.