The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) on Wednesday removed illegal structures built on flood plains and under high-tension wires at Gishiri community in Katempe District.
The removal of the illegal structures was carried out by officials of Abuja Environmental Protection Board and FCT Department of Development Control.
This was done under tight security control of the Armed Forces, Police and DSS.
NAN reports that when officials of FCTA rolled in the bulldozer and started demolition, occupants of the illegal structures broke down in tears and rushed to evacuate their belongings.
The area which is under Katampe District was last visited for demolition in 2006, since then the residents continued to build under high-tension and on water channels despite warnings from the government.
Most of the victims acknowledged that the structures were marked in March, April and early May, but feigned ignorant of the several notices.
One of the female victims who did not want her name mentioned, said: “I parked into this area in March 2022 and just renewed my rent in March, 2023, which cost N400,000.00, and where can I park to now?
“If I had known I wouldn’t have come to this area.”
Briefing newsmen, Mr Ikharo Attah, Senior Special Assistant to the Minister of FCT on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement, said the demolition was necessitated by the need to reclaim the area for infrastructure development.
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He said the victims took advantage of the proximity of the area to the FCC and flouted the Abuja master plan rules, turning the area to haven for bad eggs.
Attah said that some of the unauthorised structures in the area were hideouts for drug dealers and suspected criminals that terrorise Maitama and Asokoro residents in the night.
“We came here today to attack the triple illegalities associated with squatter settlements, the criminals’ den inside the cashew plantation in Gishiri, where we recovered cocaine and other hard drugs.
“Although there were tears and lamentations, we are not done yet as we are just warming up in Gishiri, and this is the first time, the bulldozers have come into Gishiri, since the days of Malam Nasiru El’Rufai as FCT Minister.
“The team from Development Control is firing from all cylinders, even as those of us who are political appointees are going. We are sure that when we leave, the team on ground will continue the city clean-up exercise,” he said.
Also, the Director, Department of Development Control, Mr Mukhtar Galadima, said the exercise was designed to rid the city of illegal structures.
“The clean-up exercise is to rid the city of illegal structures. When you see demolition like this, it is because of the magnitude of illegal structures in this particular area. For over 10 years now, we have been marking and removing but no headway but today we got a headway.
“This area is a water pipeline corridor coming from lower Usman Dam to various tanks in town, some of the buildings are on flood plain.
“Any land that is not approved by development control is illegal, and therefore will be removed,” he said.