“Abuja Was Built On Stolen Land” – BBC Writer Alex Preston Insults Nigeria On Twitter

bbc article abuja built stolen land

Oct 19, 2013 – BBC Writer Alex Preston Claims Abuja Was Built On Stolen Land, Insults Nigeria On Twitter

You must have come across this article on other sites. The most touching part of it is that the article was written by a complete stranger who perhaps got the wrong impression from history or local informants.

Alex Preston

Whether it’s true or not, read a detail article written by Alex Preston for BBC News below:

When one of Nigeria’s long line of military rulers, General Olusegun Obasanjo, seized the land on which Abuja was to be built in the late 1970s, he could hardly have imagined that the city would remain unfinished 35 years on.

Abuja has a makeshift, haphazard feel to it: A place of bureaucrats and building sites, its streets eerily empty after the buzz of Lagos or the enterprising bustle of Kano.

It is one of the most expensive cities in Africa, and one of the most charmless.

The skyline is dominated by the space-rocket spires of the National Christian Centre and the golden dome of the National Mosque, facing each other pugnaciously across a busy highway at the city’s centre.

Its other striking landmark is the vast construction site of the Millennium Tower, which, if it is ever completed, will be Nigeria’s tallest building.

The skyscraper was intended to mark Abuja’s 20th birthday in 2011.

UNBELIEVABLE: BBC World News Insults Nigeria on Twitter

Now delayed until who-knows-when, hugely over-budget and the subject of numerous official investigations.
All the people of Abuja have to show for the billions invested in the project are two stunted fingers of scaffold-clad concrete.

I had been in Abuja for three days – about two-and-a-half too many – when my friend, Atta, a sociologist, picked me up from my hotel.

We drove out towards Aso Rock, the monolith looming over the presidential palace.
On either side of the road there are complexes of bulky, imposing mansions, most of them unfinished.

Some had empty swimming pools; others had mock-Tudor timbering, but were windowless and often roofless. Atta told me that 65% of the houses in these developments were uninhabited, put up only to launder Abuja’s dirty money.

Like the Millennium Tower, these grandiose schemes are ruins before they are completed, bleak monuments to a city built by kleptocratic politicians on stolen land.

We pulled off the Murtala Mohammed Highway at Mpape Junction, and immediately the road deteriorated.
“I am going to show you the real Abuja,” Atta told me, as his car struggled up a deeply-rutted dirt track.
A warm wind from the desert to the north – the Harmattan – whipped clouds of red dust around us as we climbed through rocky scrubland into the hills.

People began to appear on the streets – men carrying ancient Singer sewing machines, women balancing baskets on their heads.

We entered a vast shanty-town of shacks with corrugated iron roofs, slums stacking to the horizon.
Nissan minivans scuttled past – they are called “One Chance” buses, as they barely stop on their manic journeys through these uncharted streets.

Crowds thronged between skinny cows, beneath posters advertising beaming televangelists.
Dance music blared out, interrupted by a muezzin’s call to prayer. Bright-eyed children kicked footballs about.

This was the home of the Gwari people, the original inhabitants of the land where the capital was built.
Hundreds of thousands of them were summarily evicted in the 1970s, and now scrape a living in the hills.

Abuja is itself a Gwari word and, although the city of generals and politicians below us had barely 700,000 inhabitants, two or three million people live in these shanty towns, many of them Gwari.

The Gwari people continue to fight for compensation for the land wrested from them by the Obasanjo government, land now worth more per square kilometre than almost anywhere else in Africa.

We got out and walked through the smoke and dust towards a row of shacks. In one of them, a woman knelt on the ground plucking a chicken, a man above her leaning on a makeshift bar.

Frank and Mary
They were Frank and Mary, Gwari people in their thirties, children of one of the thousands of families originally evicted during the foundation of Abuja.

The four of us sat in the shack sipping Fantas, staring out at the swarming life of the shanty town: Motorbikes and cattle and people, all of them through a veil of reddish dust.
“I trained as an architect,” Frank told me. “I have an education. But I do not have money, I don’t know the right people.

So I work here with my sister. In Abuja, money defines everything.” I ask him about the empty mansions lining the roads into the city.

“That is pseudo-Abuja, a false place. It’s unjust – we should be living in those houses. Instead…”
He gestured to the squalid lean-to that jutted from the back of the bar. Mary looked up from her chicken. “Life here is difficult,” she says.

“Often we can’t see across the street because of the smoke and dust. If it rains, you can’t move for the mud. But we pray hard.”

Frank pulled out a CD. It was Fela Kuti’s Suffering and Smiling. “This,” Frank said, as the music coiled out from an ancient hi-fi, “is the compressed statement of Nigerian society.

We suffer, but we smile. Nothing will change until we get angry, until we stop smiling.”
A storm was coming in, red clouds rolling overhead and thunder crackling down the valleys.

Frank and Mary stood waving to us, the music playing still, as we drove off down the hill, towards pseudo-Abuja.

[Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24404633]

17 thoughts on ““Abuja Was Built On Stolen Land” – BBC Writer Alex Preston Insults Nigeria On Twitter

  1. Where are the citation for his articles?
    At least when you want to write an article of this nature, you should have sources where you get your information from
    I’m really disappointed at this BBC people.
    They are bunch of dumb skulls

  2. He probably did this because he knows Nigeria is a country without law and nobody will challenge him
    Can he write the same about America, UK, Canada or other developed without citing his sources? I agree with Iyanma, BBC is going bankrupt soon
    Their writers are very incompetent.

  3. At least we did not wrestle the land away from England just like the way England wrestled other people’s lands away. This ignoramus may not like how our Abuja looks but I am sure England is not paradise nor garden of Eden either. When you have writers who have bigoted views about any issue like this stupid journalist does, they pretty much spew nonsense due to the fact that they have been blinded by their own misconceptions therefore can not see anything beyond their noses. He complains that he stayed in Abuja for 3 days ,2 1/2 days too long. HE SHOULD HAVE JUST LEFT SINCE HE FOUND THE PLACE AN EYESORE,A lot of foreign nationals live in Abuja and are quite happy with the way it looks so his approval is not required. We may not be perfect as a nation neither is England. If we just had accountability and are governed by people who had the genuine interest in making our nation progress, we wouldn’t be insulted by any British journalist or any one for that matter. It just makes my heart bleed to see our economy so mismanaged.

    • I THINK HE WAS RIGHT , BECAUSE THIS ABUJA LAND BELONG TO OYINBO SLAVE MASTER,LORD LUGARD BOUGHT THE LAND IN 1509, FOR KOBO KAN ABO, ONE AND HALF NAIRA.
      AND WHEN OUR FORFATHERS USED ALAGEMO TO DRIVE THEM AWAY , THEY FORGOT TO SHIP THIS LAND ALONG WITH THEM IN 1920,SO HE IS REALLY A THROUGH SON OF ERU , SLAVE MASTER.
      I THINK THE NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT NEED TO PARCEL THIS ABUJA LAND TO BBC THE SON OF LORD LUGARD AND THE SON OF MUNGO PARK , OR SEND FOR THE PRIME MINISTER CAMEROON , OR THE QUEEN GUILD TO COME AND REMOVE THEIR LAND.

  4. He’z an impp. Is this d extent to which British Reporters hav become jobless? Not much happens in Britain nowadayz nd nw, he’z going in search for storiez. Who knows where he’l be writing about next? Perharps my own village! D story itself is rili funny. Wow..”woman pluckin chicken, d man with an ipod discussing wiv him about stolen gwari land”. Composure of the story sounded so much exactly like a fictious formulated by an english piece of shit! This infact is d first time i’m hearin such nd seriously, its time govt becomes serious wiv d welfare of dis place…”. God help us. Did he even come into Nigeria in d first place? Nonsense.. Few pictures taken in which i didnt see his face in any, nd he claims he’z been here nd even *toured d city*. Hehe.. Why den did he stay for “3 days long”, movin into d remote parts nd enjoyin scenes of “corrugated iron sheets on houses, most of them roofless. People movin with cows nd women balancin baskets on their backs”. Den he said he was told that… Told by whom! Where did d stupid ideas he’z been fillin his mind with come from?? Tomorrow, they’l shoot a movie in a “promised land of canaan”. I’v seen worse places nd homeless people in english landz where they’l never show to d public, nd therefore, all is well there. Idiotic… Anyway shaa, me no wan talk long story (i know, i already have…). My own is, wen nxt he comes for round two on his quest for story (that is, if he actually go on d claimed trips), he shuldnt run off like a white fowl nd den, drop his articles. D bitch should remain wen he needs to tell us somthing abt Abuja….

  5. Why blaming the “white peasant”. The blame should be on the “Bastard called Atta”. A Chronic Bastard indeed that uses left hand to point at his father’s house. Both of them are senseless. The question I have for the white boy is: was Abuja stolen from the Queen or the British as a whole? How can a city ever claim to have reached completion? Even the City of New York and Boston City from the United States had been in existence years before the country became independent from the British Tyranny. They can never claim to have reached completion. Both Cities were under colonial rules which was part of the then North, and are still going through changes on daily basis with new infrastructures being put in places. I ask the punk-ass white boy to take a journey to U.S Capital, Washington D.C and see things where part of the City is under-going transformation daily, while other parts of the city remains in shambles. Of course he’s being paid to run his coffee-stained teeth on Nigerian. If the land is taken from the Gwaris it is their country and they are subjected to their government rules and regulations. That shouldn’t have been in no way any Briton’s business The Gwaris are Nigerian NOT the British traitors who created most of the problems confronting Nigerian today.

  6. Mr article writer or what did u call urself. Ur view is completely a ” Generalization” u just took something specific and applied it more broadly. It wrong to say d whole Nigeria Federal Capital Territory was build on stolen land. “OMO OSHAN LON KO KONDO BA IYA E” did u think Nigeria is like u colonial thief, so called British that equally changed three country name 2 only England name? If i were Mr president i will send for ur personal conversation and arrest u. Ever in ur life try dis again. Busy body

  7. Wateva ppl may call u, u only ansa 2 wat u make urself 2b. If u say u’r a giant bt bhv lyk a dwarf, ppl wud call u a dwarf. Dat’s simple! Nigeria has no gud image, so nomata wat risibl attempt she [email protected] name, she would rmain a laughabout until our politicians decide 2 redeem her. If any of u who assail dis Alex man were 2 com frm Gwari, ur views would change. Diz r ppl lyk u who ought 2 hav been resettled. Bt afta moni had changed frm one dirty hand 2 anoda equally dirty hand, diz men were left 2 languish in depravity. They aint d only victims of dis Nigeria’s indifference. Dis sort of thing doznt hapn in UK where Alex is from. Bt here it is common place. Why wudnt Alex den b quick 2 write anythn his whims tel him abt us,weda they’r true or not? U ppl may attack me bcs of my view. It wudnt change a thing. Saying d truth abt ur coun3 is d highest 4m of patriotism, cos dat is giving opportnity 4 wrong things 2b made right.

  8. This stupid should go and tell America and Canada to give the land they stole from native Indians back! At least the Abuja people are Nigeria people. The American and Canadian government stole lands that belong to Native Indians and then banished them from main stream society,these aborigines loose their rights anytime they try to mix with the “normal society “,how many articles of this nature has this racist journalist penned his bigoted views about? No be I’m fault,”na old man wey bend I’m head make small pikin konk am”.

  9. His silly article should not even get recognition. The BBC is not a credible source of information anyway. How do I know this? I worked at the BBC for a while.

  10. but my people lets not forget thats there is truth in what the young man has written here. is abuja not a city built with our money why will few powerful ones inherit these lands and push the poor mass out to the outskirt of abuja.house are built from the money gained from the resources of my fathers land oly to be inherited by the few powerful ones in the corridor of powers, was fela not right in his song….. smilling and suffering

  11. There is no stupid man like a white man(burfalo soldier),if not for the death of General sani abacha would you know the road to nigeria? See white man! My country is above your trial ok!

  12. Just like Obasanjo gave Bakassi to Cameroon…..what this guy is trying to say is the real owners of Abuja have all been short changed. he didn’t need citations, he spoke with Frank and Mary.” THE REAL OWNERS OF ABUJA”. we are very passionate about Nigeria, we can be very sentimental without looking at the facts. The guy is just doing his job as a journalist…..though the caption could have been better, he was on point. 90% of people fail because they don’t know what they don’t know!!!

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