By Muhammad Abdullahi, Abuja
As part of efforts to rid the nation’s capital of criminal elements, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) at the weekend demolished over 400 illegal structures.
Some of the illegal structures are used as safe haven for criminals and settlers.
Most of the structures were situated in Lugbe- along Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.
Director of Security Services in the FCTA, Adamu Gwary, vowed that the administration will not fold its hands and watch criminals overrun the city.
Gwary said the Minister of FCT, Malam Muhammad Bello is not happy with illegal structures posing security threat to the city.
He assured that with the minister’s political will the removal of illegal structures will be sustained.
“The minister of FCT is not happy with the development along the Airport road and as such he ordered the removal of all activities that will deface the vicinity and also create security threat to the nation’s capital. You can see that there is so much nuisance which come along with its own security implications.
“Once there is the political will which the minister has given the go ahead we will sustain it. We have the support of the security agencies and all the departments in FCT are at work. You can see that we came out in the rain, once there is that go-ahead, there is no going back, we will sustain it.
“If we identify where there is nuisance, we will pencil it down for demolition. It is not only the Airport road but the Airport road as you know is the eye of the city so, we cannot afford to joke with it”.
The Chairman, FCT Ministerial Committee on City Sanitation, Ikharo Attah, said the operation was occasioned by national security.
Attah explained that the administration had received disturbing reports that some illegal makeshift structures were being erected along the Airport road despite several demolitions.
His words: “We enjoy strong political will from the minister. Just last week we were here and after clearing this place people have rebuilt some structures. And we have cleared many structures again and this time around we have taken more drastic measures. We also appeal to people, some of them who are building back after seven days of clearing, are saying they have approached the FCDA. We do not collect bribes. We do not compromise land use standards. Don’t give bribes and we will not take.
“Anywhere the minister asks us to clear, that we will do. We cannot keep a city anyhow. People want to leave illegally”.
The Chief Security Officer to the FCT Minister, Ahmed Rashid also disclosed that the administration has also identified strategies that the scavengers, criminals and the illegal settlers are adopting and where they are hibernating and we are dislodging them” he said.
“As you can see the security challenges are increasing and we cannot wait until the criminals enter the main city before we deal with them.
“We are clearing all the illegal motor parks to reduce the number of criminals. We also notice that they will strike in the city and go back to their safe haven. By the time we clear all their safe haven there will be no hiding place for them”.
The demolition exercise despite the heavy rain started at Lugbe-Across, Lugbe-Berger, Car wash and Lugbe Zone 5 and lasted for eight hours with heavy security personnel to avoid breakdown of law and order.
The security team comprised men of the Nigeria Army, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Air Force Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Abuja Environmental Protection Board as well as officials of the department of Development Control of the FCTA.