Residents, scavengers clash as FCTA clears Utako illegal shanties

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By Muhammad Abdullahi

Abuja 

It was a hellish experience for residents of Utako village yesterday,  when they engaged in a hot fight with scavengers, to salvage their properties after the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) demolition bulldozers rammed into hundreds of illegal shanties. 

The scavengers who defied the presence of security operatives at the demolition site, were seen snatching different materials from their lawful  owners who obviously were overwhelmed by the pains of the demolition. 

Director, Department of Development Control,  Muktar Galadima explained that the clean up exercise was not just a routine one, but a special operation to remove all illegal structures and pave way for the original allottees to regain their land.

Galadima noted that quit notice had been given to the squatters long ago to enable them safely relocate. 

The Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement to FCT Minister,  Ikharo Attah said the operation was also targeted at addressing perennial traffic and criminal activities in the area.

Attah who also doused the tension generated over speculation that the homes of the indigenous people within the village  would be demolished , assured that only illegal structures on the land allocated to the FCT Police Command was earmarked for demolition. 

He also added that the clean up exercise would help to restore the environmental sanitation and aesthetic of the Utako District. 

” We are only removing the illegal shanties to reclaim the land for the original allottees.  We are not demolishing the houses of indigenous people.

” The clean up will also help to address the disturbing traffic gridlock and also criminal activities of miscreants in the place, Attah said.