Joseph Egbri, aka Kpokpogri, a politician and former lover of actress Tonto Dikeh, discusses the circumstances surrounding the recent demolition of his house in Abuja with BABATUNDE TUGBOGBO.
How did you feel as you watched the house you worked so hard to build be demolished?
I cannot commit suicide. I have my kids to live for. There are also numerous adolescents who depend on me for survival. I believe that there are individuals responsible for what occurred, and that God will expose them all. They will suffer 10 times more than I did on that day, because this is not an ordinary occurrence (demolition).
The Federal Housing Authority and Federal Capital Territory Administration asserted that you received multiple notices prior to the building’s demolition. Is that correct?
They lie from the depths of hell. They had the audacity to enter someone’s property without permission and demolish it because they were in a position of authority. Soon, they will lose power, and they will receive the same treatment they meted out to others.
You asserted that the structure was demolished because you refused to sell it to a powerful person. Can you elaborate on this and the identity of the person in question?
No, I will not reveal their identity, as doing so would compromise my case. Nevertheless, I have recordings to that effect. After I constructed the house, the neighbourhood became habitable, and activity began to increase. I would wager that it was this structure that attracted development to that area. For many years, the area was essentially a thicket. In 2015, even the original recipient received the allocation. Why, if they knew there would be a road there, did they not revoke the permit? (the allocation). When I was building (my house), the FHA typically supervised the construction from beginning to end. Even as I was constructing a fence, they arrived.
Now, however, they have appeared out of nowhere with the vicious excuse, which I view as an afterthought, that a road is supposed to pass through my residence. Why doesn’t the road go through the uninhabited lands in the vicinity? (Am I being treated in this manner because I am not from the north?) The same has been done to many of our brothers in the south and east. There is a man in Abuja who constructed a massive estate with over 100 units. But because he is from Anambra State, nobody went there to post a notice when the man was constructing (for him to stop work). As soon as he completed construction, however, they went to mark the site for demolition. Which type of oppression is this? Consequently, action is required.
Can you walk us through the entire process, from paying for the land and paperwork to the house’s eventual completion?
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Mr. Uche, an FHA attorney, was the one who sold the property to me. As a public servant, he should have known that a road would pass through the property he was selling; therefore, he should not have engaged in such a transaction. After purchasing the two lots, I presented them with my building plan. As soon as they viewed the design, they condemned it. They stated that they would be the ones to create the design for me and that I could not proceed. If that was the case, I said so be it. After I paid for my building development, they completed the design, signed it, returned it to me, and provided me with a copy. I paid the government all the required fees, including the building approval fee. If the building permit fee had not been paid in full, they would not have allowed me to begin construction on the property.
I am confident that a northerner in Asaba or Warri would not have been subjected to this (Delta State). Even the minister who ordered the house’s demolition lacks reverence for God. Does he live in such a home? Even when his personal assistant, Sani Daura, visited my home, he remarked, “Oga, your house is beautiful. Even my boss does not have a home like this.
Some individuals believe that your ex-lover, Tonto Dikeh, played a role in the entire saga. How do you feel about that?
That is a lie. Tonto is not involved in any way. She has no knowledge of what transpired there.
What is karma? The demolition is a disguised blessing; I do not believe in karma. Do I sound like a person affected by karma? Despite King Saul’s strength in the Bible, he was unable to compete with David. The Bible states that no matter how they gather, if the gathering is not of God, they will scatter. I am indifferent to what she is saying. I have absolutely nothing to say about that girl. I do not wish to participate in anything involving her.
The demolition was initiated by a group of individuals who gathered for that purpose. What they did is not even in the federal government’s best interest. I will disassemble them (as time goes on).
The FCDA asserted that the demolished structure obstructed a road alignment intended to serve as an important Abuja-Keffi axis bypass. Did you know about this?
That is a lie. Check the Abuja master plan to see if a road of that type passes through the area. Check out the FHA’s master plan. Three times I was asked to visit the FHA with the assurance that my home would not be affected.
It was also stated that your structure was not authorised?
These too are lies. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that a road is coming, they do not have the right to enter my property without contacting me as the owner, as a government agency assigned the land to me. They should have informed me if they intended to revoke the land. They should relocate me and compensate me before demolishing my property to make way for the proposed road.
What type of assistance or compensation are you seeking from the government?
I will say nothing regarding that. I have my plans in place.