By Hudu Yakubu Abuja
In furtherance to its renewed effort against proliferation of environmental nuisances, the FCT Administration today 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 a right of way of a major road network around Angwan Berberi, off Efab Estate, and behind Kado Fish Market, near Lifecamp axis of Gwarinpa District of Abuja.
The exercise was carried 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.
Explaining the exercise, Ikharo Attah, the Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement to the FCT Minister, said the action followed a complaint sent to the FCT Administration through Command and Control Centre, due to high level of proliferation of shanties, scavengers (aka Baba-Bolas) and others in the area.
Attah said the FCTA discovered a very worrisome development on the road, which is Cadastral C02 road corridor here in Gwarinpa, which people started building houses on it.
“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 owners of the houses in the area, who claimed to be Barrister, but pleaded anonymity, disclosed that she had bought the land for which she spent not less than three million to develop, the structure.
She expressed shock over the development, as she and her had planned to move into the newly finished house today, only to met their house marked for demolition.
She said: “we just finished, and we intended to pack in today; we actually spent about 3 million Naira 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.
“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.
Similarly, a resident, who simply identified himself as Mr Samson, whose place of residence was demolished, however admitted that most people were aware that the area has been reserved for a major road, linking many parts of the nation’s capital city.
He however adds that ” the major problem we have with them (FCTA officials) is that they didn’t informed us before coming to demolish our houses, so as to enable us remove our belongings, without suffering any loss.
FCTA clears illegal settlers, scavengers, traders in Gwarinpa