FCTA: If we don’t kill impunity; it will bury the ‘common man’ in Nigeria

Nigerians on social media today were given yet another reason to be outraged for the mere reason of being born a Nigerian, after a viral video showed the unapologetic and destructive impunity with which public officials have become accustomed to.

The video shows the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) attempting to demolish a building with occupants still in it. Apart from being all together disturbing to watch, the utter disrespect for human life is no doubt representative of the officials who had sent them on such errands.

According to a statement released by the FCTA, the owner of the building in question, Layla Othman, had flouted a court order when the management of the restaurant failed to prove that their staff had conducted the food handlers’ test as required by the law. As such they were required to seal the restaurant.

The FCTA in another statement also stated that they had planned to use the first floor of the building for a car park, which was approved, but the owner refused to comply. It also accused the occupants of illegally taking down trees in the area which the government had planted and as a result an abatement notice was served, which according to the FCTA was again disregarded.

Valid as their challenges with the occupant may have been, it doesn’t remotely justify such actions. The big question here is what if they had injured someone or worse what if they had killed someone? What if the matter had escalated more than it did? Would it be worth the pay off?

There are procedures to handling cases as this, including court orders. If such orders are ignored, couldn’t the police have been involved? But the FCTA decided to send thugs to the premise armed with heavy machinery and an order that permits them to blatantly disregard the lives of citizens in the building.

It goes without saying that reactions to the video on social media largely cared less about who was at fault or who defaulted a court order, but an incident that reminded them of how insensitive, many state authorities in Nigeria remain.

The actions of the FCTA is reminiscent of a government that would thoughtlessly destroy the livelihood of the common Nigerian just to protect one of their many selfish interest. This was the general sentiment shared amongst most people who had watched the video and it is baffling that the FCTA did not see this type of backlash coming.

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