By Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
As part of efforts to maintain the fidelity of the Abuja Master Plan, the Federal Capital Territory Administration FCTA has cleared hundreds of shanties hitherto used for residential and commercial purposes, mainly by scavengers, traders and settlers.
Mostly affected were illegal structures and scrap materials sitting on the right of way around Angwan Beriberi, off Efab Estate, and behind Kado Fish Market, near Lifecamp axis of Gwarinpa District of Abuja.
Also removed were illegal settlers inside an undeveloped plot beside the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Efab Road, by Adebowale Gas Station, in the area.
The exercise was carried out by FCTA officials under the umbrella of its Security Command and Control Centre with over two hundred joint security personnel and field officers drawing from Development Control Department, Abuja Environmental Protection Board AEPB and other relevant agencies.
Speaking with journalists after the exercise, Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement to the FCT Minister, Attah Ikharo said the action followed a complaint to the FCT Administration through its Command and Control Centre on the proliferation of shanties, scavengers and others in the area.
“We cleared all the shanties and we have marked the houses and warned people to be aware of two areas they must not build on road corridors and waterways.
“We have given them enough time to move, some of them we have removed before, and they returned. So we keep giving enough time over and over again, and the question is we have given you enough time, but have you given the government enough time before coming to put illegalities?
“Most of the FCDA road corridors are transit ways not yet constructed, but people have already build on them.
“We have taken notice of all of them; we have gotten their numbers and we are going to be coming very heavily on them. And those who are building on waterways and green areas, we will be coming very heavily against them.
“It is very worrisome when you see a beautiful road corridor that is yet to be constructed , and people are building on it, it is very disturbing. But our appeal is to residents not to allow people come and built kiosks and anything on the road within their neighbourhoods”, he stressed.
One of the affected residents who declined to give her name said like most others, she acquired her land from the local Chief.
She said: “We just finished, and we intended to pack in today; we actually spent about N3 million to set this building in this area.
“Actually, no notice was given to us, and we acquired the land through the Chief of the village, at the rate of N220,000.00.
“You can see people living in this environment are stranded now, so the government should give us time, since it is not ready to make use of the road now.
“I wish to appeal that the authorities should give us sufficient notice, because we are human beings and looking at the economic situation of this country, people are just working to eat, as they can’t even pay their rents.”