Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
The Federal Capital Territory Administration FCTA has cleared over 700 illegal structures built in swampy areas and flood plains in Kado Raya Angwan Makabarta, under the Life Camp District of Abuja.
The structures were inhabited by over 1,000 petty traders who had refused to quit the area in spite of several abatement notices.
Speaking during the exercise, Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement to the FCT minister, Mr Attah Ikharo said the operation was in compliance with ministerial directive.
According to him, the area had already being marked for demolition since April this year but the inhabitants of the illegal structures refused to comply with the notices issued to them.
He said; “The FCT Minister gave the marching order to rid the city of criminals which led to the massive operations in the city
“We came here with a combined security team and we have made some arrests and several sensitive items were also recovered.
“This illegal settlement is disturbing the neighbourhood and the entire Life Camp to Kado areas with some criminals extending up to Idu Karmo and several other areas far off from here. So, today we came to remove the entire structures here. The entire village here, about 85 per cent of it sits on flood plains. The one we are removing here is sitting right on the road corridor.”
The minister’s aide explained that the entire illegal structures sit on the flood plains adding that it was dominated by the none indigenous people.
“They were just on their own. One man started the illegality and others followed and today we came to remove them to save them from flood and insecurity.”
He disclosed that a team from Parks and Recreations Department has evaluated the area and identified beacons and already marked it as a green area.
“The flood belt is to be greened and the solid area is to be used for parking facilities. This area is a road corridor and there is a grave yard and we are going to green the area until when the road is ready.
“We don’t collect bribes. Some persons came here to say that few days ago, while they were giving warning some people collected money from them to give to FCTA so that we will not come but we are here now.
“They are now wondering why we actually came here after paying bribe and their leaders have all absconded for now. So, we are appealing to people that whenever they hear that officials of FCTA are coming for demolition, please don’t start to gather bribes. Just pack your things and look for a safe place to stay. After all the bribes they paid, the machines are still working. If not for security services in FCT, nobody will know that people are here.”
Reacting to the demolition, one of the occupants of the area, Mr Ibrahim Salisu, a labourer, who expressed sadness over the exercise, alleged that their leaders collected the sum of N1,000 from over 500 of them.
“The FCTA gave us notices to vacate this place about three months ago but on Monday, Oct. 3 in the evening, our leaders came and asked us to contribute N1,000, assuring us that they will give the money to officials of the FCTA to prevent them from going on with the demolition.”