Barely a week after dust from the last demolition exercise is yet to settle and tears yet to dry, personnel of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) have again made a dramatic return to Iddo Sarki community and levelled 473 illegal structures.
At the previous demolition exercise, the FCTA pulled down no fewer than 137 illegal structures, ranging from blocks of hostels, hotels and others.
With renewed energy, an apparently strengthened, well fortified enforcement team, comprising the Nigeria Navy, Nigeria Police Force, DSS, NSCDC, NDLEA, Nigeria Immigration Service and DRTS, working with five bulldozers, levelled 473 illegal buildings in a day.
Responding to questions from journalists on the need for return to Iddo for the ‘mother of all demolitions’, Chairman, FCT Ministerial Committee on City Sanitation, Ikharo Attah, explained that his team had to go back to Iddo to complete the good work it has started in the community.
According to him, leaving the demolition exercise halfway, uncompleted would only encourage reemergence of illegal structures and perpetuation of illegality which would further deteriorate the abuses of the Abuja Master Plan.
Attach called on developers and FCT residents to desist from buying parcels of land from traditional Chiefs in the nation’s capital, adding that only the FCT Minister (not even FCT Minister of State) was legally empowered to allocate any portion of the FCT’s 8,000 square kilometers of land.
“Why we came back here was because we did not finish the clean up. We thought we had gone very far, not until we noticed that the Land Use Contraventions have been very high and disturbing.
“So we had to come back here to continue the clean up. Thanks directors of Development Control and Security who out heads together for us to get four to five machines.
“Some of the illegalities of land contravention include buying land from local Chiefs, building without building plan approvals, building substandard structures and the authorities will not allow these to continue because the city is planned and when we see contravention, it is the mandate of the FCTA to take it out.”
Responding to a question on whether there was any compensation for them, Attah said: “They have been warned before and when you commit illegality…..we even ought to take them to court but we are living them. The Chiefs who gave them the land have denied that they gave them land.”
Attah also sent a strong warning to those residing in illegal structures within Mpape, Dutse Makaranta, Ushafa and others areas to either move out or comply, adding that they were next in line for similar clean up exercises.
“We have to rush this work now because the people of Mpape, Dutse Makaranta and Ushafa -both the residents and landlords are begging the FCT Minister to come and clean up their area, so we will soon be going to assist them. He said.
“We are seeing encroachments even in the Lower Usuma Dam where we get our safe water to drink. We don’t want people to go there and pollute our water.”
Secretary, Command and Control Centre, FCT, Peter Olumuji who also spoke to journalists revealed that another reason demolishing the structures was because they harbored criminals who constitute insecurity within the area and the whole of FCT.
He said: “One of the reasons why we are here is because such places hibernate criminals because they can get cheaper houses to rent.
“We have had a sustained clean up operation on the airport road and this has led to reduction in the rate of crime and criminality in the FCT.”