From Fred Itua, Abuja
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) kicked off Monday a series of demolition of illegal structures and clean up in Kuje town, Abuja.
The exercise, which was in continuation of the ongoing measures to mitigate the proliferation of illegal structures, purportedly obstructing human and vehicular movements in the area, followed months of sensitisation and abatement notices from relevant authorities and endorsement of Kuje stakeholders.
Officials of the FCT Administration backed by a heavy security team drawn from the military, police and para-military agencies, stormed the area at about 10 AM and cleared roadside encroachments from the notorious tipper garage to the Kuje main market.
During the clean-up exercise, which lasted for about seven hours, hundreds of structures ranging from kiosks, containers, and attachments to stores and worship centres, shanties and signposts encroached on the road corridors.
It was observed that some encroached areas were cleared by the owners and occupants before the enforcement team arrived for the actual removal.
Speaking with newsmen, Senior Special Assistant to FCT Minister on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement, Attah Ikharo, said the exercise is under the Minister’s directive and under the guidance of police Commissioner, Sunday Babaji and other security heads in the Territory.
Ikharo added that the Minister has not been comfortable with the nature of Kuje, as the extreme contraventions in multiple places in Kuje, make the area very unsafe, illegal settlements, due to the extreme road encroachment, roadside trading, encroachment of rail corridors, and other contraventions in Kuje.
According to him, the clean-up would be a week-long exercise, as Kuje has been very worrisome in some areas of insecurity.
“Today, we have been able to address the issue of roadside encroachment from the tipper garage to the main market, we couldn’t enter the forest, but we told them to park that forest is not supposed to be a market while we also touched the fruit market.
“Tomorrow we will be claiming the rail corridor, the entire rail corridor, and keep it safe and children can use it for recreation.
“We marked Kuje about four months ago. And we have been waiting for a long, so the word of caution is what they have seen today.
“Kuje chiefs and indigenes have denied selling the rail corridor to anyone and we have asked them who sold to them, they can’t say. So we have been directed by the Minister to reclaim the rail corridor.
“The tipper garage, being a notorious place, we will keep coming, and Kuje is now like Gwarinpa.”