By Muhammad Abdullahi
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has begun mass demolition of illegal structures behind the old Federal Secretariat at Area I in Abuja.
The Administration had in February, 2022 issued a demolition notice to owners of the structures with reminder on 1st March to leave the place.
Speaking to journalists after the exercise on Wednesday, the Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement to the minister, Ikaro Attah said the rate of shanties in the area was worrisome and need serious clean up.
He regretted that the secretariat that houses the Ministers of Interior, Trade and Investment have been taken over by the illegal structures which constituted security threat to the nation’s capital.
Attah explained that the demolition followed series of complains received about the area from security agencies and strategic persons, recently.
He said: ” It is a lot worrisome, we have been receiving series of complains from security agencies and strategic persons, so as part of our efforts to clean the federal capital of shanties we have to start the pulling down of the illegal structures.
“The FCT Administration will not allow shanties to take over ministers of Interior and that of Trade and Investment with other key ministries.
“It would have been done since last year but because of the wet season we had to leave it till now, dry season, even now is not easy but we have to do it. We warned them time without number to vacate the place”
On claims by owners of the illegal structures that they were Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Borno state, Attah said the IDPs were few in numbers at the fringes of the Dunamis church and near the main road.
However, senator Ali Ndume who represents Borno South in National Assembly visited the area during the exercise and called for profiling of the IDPs.
Ndume said, “we are all Nigerians, we must obey rules and regulations, there is nothing wrong demolishing structures serving as security threat to offices belonging to senior government officials, therefore let all of you that know that you are IDPs write down your names for proper documentation” he said.
While getting reactions from the Chairman of IDPs in Area 1 Saidu Usman said:
The demolition will greatly affect us. Before people were farming in the area, until most of us who were displaced by Boko Haram decided to settle there with our families, by erecting houses in the area, and it’s been more than ten years now.
When they came and marked buildings in the area, during which we were given three days to vacate the place, then I went and informed Senator Ali Ndume about the development.
We have many people having wives and children, but now they have removed their houses, so where will the displaced people go?
And the Senator said we should follow the rules and regulations as the FCT Minister doesn’t want this kind of things we are doing in the area. So we are ready to leave, as the government has made it clear that they don’t want people to be there.