Thousands of protesters early this morning besieged the United States Of America Embassy as well as the British High Commission to demand an immediate travel ban on the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Musa Belllo as well as Senator Gbenga Bareehu Ashafa and Mukhtar Usman Galadima of the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council, AMMC over the demolition of Prince Joseph Kpokpogri residence in Guxape Area of Abuja on May 14 this year.
The protesters under the Coalition of Human Rights Protection in Nigeria also demanded that the family members of the aforementioned pereons be barred from all territories of America and the United Kingdom pursuant to Part 9 of the Immigration Rules on the ground that their presence would not be conducive to the public good
Leader of the group, Ambassador Edward Omaga said unless excluded and or barred, Muhammad Musa Bello, Senator Gbenga Bareehu Ashafa and Mukhtar Usman Galadima may fly into the United Kingdom with their family members to avert justice
He said Lawyers, Human Right Activists, Women and Youths are in the embassy to seek ustice for one of their own, Prince Joseph Kpokpogri who is the Chairman of Anti-Corruption and Integrity Forum (ACIF).
He said , ” On Saturday, 14th May, 2022 at about 8am some government agents alongside heavily armed security agents numbering about 200, bulldozers and excavators invaded the Hilltop Mansion belonging to Prince Joseph Kpokpogri located at Guzape, Abuja in a commando style and demolished same together with all the stateof-the-art furniture and fittings.
“The said government agents acted on the orders of Muhammad Musa Bello (Minister of the Federal Capital Territory), Senator Gbenga Bareehu Ashafa (Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Federal Housing Authority) and Mukhtar Usman Galadima (Acting Director, Department of Development Control, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council – AMMC). Indeed, the demolition which was recklessly done without following the due process stipulated by our laws happened under the supervision of Mukhtar Usman Galadima, as we all saw in videos widely circulated on various social media platforms.
“There is no doubt that Prince Joseph Kpokpogri is the person entitled to the statutory right of occupancy over Plots 203 and 204, 27 Road, Apo Estate, Abuja covered by letters of allocation issued by Federal Housing Authority with Ref. No. FHA/BD/ES/APO/P.203 and Ref. No. FHA/BD/ES/APO/P.204, upon which he built his Multi Million Naira Mansion. He lawfully acquired the two plots of land from Barr. Muyideen Obans and Mrs. Alaba Akindele, respectively sometime in January, 2015 and signed the relevant transfer documents. Accordingly, Prince Joseph Kpokpogri took steps before embarking on the building by applying to the Federal Housing Authority headed by Gbenga Bareehu Ashafa for necessary permits and approvals, which were granted. As a matter of fact, the Building Plan was eventually drawn by the staff of the Federal Housing Authority after one of the officers in charge of development named Sidaka Abdulrahman rejected the one drawn by Kpokpogri on policy grounds.
“Worthy of note is the fact that the construction of the Guzape Hilltop Mansion from the foundation to completion was closely supervised by a team of Engineers of the Federal Housing Authority led by Engineer Shuaibu Zubairu who was the Project Manager. Some Engineering staff of the Department of Development Control under the leadership of Mukhtar Galadima Usman were also on ground to supervise the building project. Permit us to add here that the construction of the building could not have been done successfully without the Engineering staff of the Federal Housing Authority because the Building Plan was designed by them. Amazingly, upon completion of the building and at its opening ceremony, the staff of the Federal Housing Authority as well as Department of Development Control were present to celebrate with Kpokpogri. There was never a time when the government officials served Kpokpogri any Stop Work Order notifying him to stop the construction of the building even though they were aware of the construction of the building from foundation to completion. Also, neither the FCT Minister nor FHA and Development Control revoked in writing the allocation of Plots 203 and 204 located at 27 Road, Apo Estate, Abuja held by Kpokpogri. No Court Order was obtained and served on Kpokpogri notifying him of the demolition. As a matter of fact, the property was never marked for demolition during or after construction until one week to the demolition, precisely on 7th May, 2022 and no reason whatsoever was given for the marking.
“After the building was marked for demolition, Kpokpogri immediately contacted the Federal Housing Authority which informed him that they were not privy to the marking of the building and it must have come from the Department of Development Control, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council – AMMC under the instruction of the Minister of FCT, Muhammad Musa Bello. To complicate matters, the Federal Housing Authority assured Kpokpogri that there was nothing wrong with his property as it was not among those that the Federal Housing Authority had issues with and have invited owners for resolution. Still in pursuit of justice, when our Kpokpogri perceived that his fundamental right to own property in Abuja could be breached by the trio of Muhammad Musa Bello, Senator Gbenga Bareehu Ashafa and Mukhtar Usman Galadima, he desperately wrote a complaint letter to the Speaker, Federal House of Representatives, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila for his intervention but no response was received before the demolition took place.
“Going by Section 43 of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), every citizen of Nigeria shall have the right to acquire and own immovable property anywhere in Nigeria. This implies that Kpokpogri like every other citizen can buy and own land anywhere in Nigeria. Section 44 (1) (b) of the Constitution provides to the effect that no interest in an immovable property shall be taken possession of compulsorily in any part of Nigeria except in the manner and for the purposes prescribed by a law that, among other things require the prompt payment of compensation therefore. Obviously, the right to own property accrues to Kpokpogri for the simple reason that he is a Nigerian citizen by birth. We submit that the ethnic group where he hails from as well as his religion or political affiliation should not ordinarily affect this inalienable fundamental right to acquire and own immovable property in Nigeria.
“At the Regional and International Levels, the right to adequate housing which is a component of the right to own and enjoy property is recognized in several international instruments. We refer particularly to Article 14 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (1981) which was ratified as Cap A9, LFN 2004 which provides in Article 14 that the right to property shall be guaranteed. It may only be encroached upon in the interest of public need or in the general interest of the community and in accordance with the provisions of appropriate laws. In Article 16 (1) the Charter provides that “Every individual shall have the right to enjoy the best attainable state of physical and mental health”. Similarly, Article 25 of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (1948) declares that “every man has the right to a standard
of living adequate for the health and wellbeing of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services”.
“We submit that the arbitrary demolition of Kpokpogri’s house on 14th May, 2022 by agents of Muhammad Musa Bello, Senator Gbenga Bareehu Ashafa and Mukhtar Usman Galadima without following due process constitute gross violation of internationally recognized elements of the right to adequate housing. The young man has so far suffered serious emotional trauma, mental stress and damages as a result of the demolition of his house. In fact, one of his domestic staff at the Boys Quarters of the demolished building sustained second degree injuries and was hospitalized. At a time like this when our country Nigeria is facing high rate of inflation, unemployment, banditry, terrorism and other forms of criminality we fear that the demolition of Kpokpogri’s house by Muhammad Musa Bello, Senator Gbenga Bareehu Ashafa and Mukhtar Usman Galadima may trigger youth restiveness and mass protests which may have adverse effects on the economy. Distinguished Ambassador, High Commissioner, Gentlemen of the Press and Fellow Compatriots you will recall that the main issue that caused the colossal #EndSARS Protests all over the country in 2020 was the alleged extra-judicial killing of a young man somewhere in Ughelli, Delta State. The destruction of lives and properties that followed the #EndSARS Protests due to clashes between government security forces and angry youths can only be imagined than chronicled in this address. Let us not allow such a thing to happen again in Nigeria!
“We are aware that some angry youths have been protesting since 14th May, 2022 when the ugly incidence of demolition took place. Our fear is that these angry youths springing up under different group have the capacity to shut down crude oil pipelines and other facilities in the Niger Delta Region, all in the name of getting justice for Kpokpogri, thereby causing severe loss to the Nigerian government. It is therefore our demands that Governments of USA and Great Britain should as a matter of urgency: –
“Impose an Exclusion Decision/Visa Ban on Muhammad Musa Bello, Senator Gbenga Bareehu Ashafa and Mukhtar Usman Galadima together with their family members. They should be barred from all territories of America and the United Kingdom pursuant to Part 9 of the Immigration Rules on the ground that their presence would not be conducive to the public good. We maintain that unless excluded and or barred, Muhammad Musa Bello, Senator Gbenga Bareehu Ashafa and Mukhtar Usman Galadima may fly into the United Kingdom with their family members to avert justice.
“Prevail on the Nigerian Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR to remedy the wrong meted to Kpokpogri through prompt payment of adequate compensation.