Niger agency blames community heads for Minna slums
Hajiya Habiba Ahmed, General Manager, Niger State Urban Development Board, on Thursday attributed the increasing number of slums in Minna Metropolis on indiscriminate allocation of plots by community heads.
Ahmed told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna that congestion in areas like Kpakungu, Barkin Sale, Maitumbi, Saukakahuta, Kiteren Gwari was due to the illegal plot allocations by community heads.
NAN reports that the areas lacked basic amenities such as access roads, potable water, drainage channels, health and security infrastructure as well as adequate electricity supply.
She said that some of the community heads had been violating professional rules and regulations by allocating plots of land without the approval of the board.
“We have given series of warnings to ward and community heads to follow due process before allocating land but you still find people building indiscriminately.
“A lot of houses are built without consideration; and that is why it has become difficult for the people of such areas to feel the impact of government.
“Government cannot construct roads or provide water where people have built structures without following proper town planning regulations.
“We advise residents to adhere to urban planning rule to enable government make available those facilities that are lacking in these slum areas,” she said.
The general manager noted that most of the slums sprang up on government-owned land sold illegally.
“This problem has been a persistent one; people living in these slum areas believe it is their ancestral land and development is going faster than our ability to control.
“We have what is called community plan; before a land is given out by a community head, a professional layout plan must be presented to the Ministry of Lands and Housing,’’ she said.
She advised residents to desist from illegal erection of structures, warning that such buildings would be demolished without compensation.
Similarly, Alhaji Aliyu Abdullahi, Commissioner for Lands and Housing in Niger, told NAN that the state government had partnered with UN-Habitat to assist in fashioning a new urban development policy.
He said the policy would guide the urbanisation process and address the environmental hazards in Suleja and Minna metropolis.