By: Wisdom Acka
There was pandemonium and tears at Gishiri community Wednesday, as officials of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) rolled in bulldozer and demolished unplanned structures to reclaim the land for infrastructure development.
The area which is under Katampe District was last visited for demolition in 2006, since then the residents continued to build under the high power tension and water channels despite warning from the government.
Senior Special Assistant to the Minister of FCT on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement, Ikharo Attah, explained that the exercise was necessitated by the need to reclaim the place for infrastructural development.
He stated that the victims took advantage of the proximity of the area to the Federal Capital City and flouted the Abuja Master Plan by turning the area into a criminal hideout.
His words: “We came here today to attack the triple illegalities associated with squatter settlements, the criminals’ den inside the cashew plantation in Gishiri, where we recovered cocaine and other hard drugs.”
“Although there were tears and lamentations, but we are not done yet as we are just getting warm up in Gishiri, and this is the first time, the bulldozers came into Gishiri, since the days of Mallam Nasir Ahmed el’Rufai as FCT Minister,” he added.
“The team from Development Control is firing from all cylinders, even as those of us who are political appointees are going, we are sure that when we leave, the team on ground is set to continue the city clean up exercise,” the SSA stressed.
Describing the exercise as “the mother of all demolitions”, Director, Department of Development Control, Murkhtar Galadima, vowed that the FCTA would not rest until illegal structure are ridden from the city.
“When you see demolitions like this, it is because of the magnitude of illegal structures. We have been marking and removing illegal structures in this particular area for over 10 years, but it was today we made a headway”, he said.
The SSA explained further: “This area is a water pipeline corridor coming from Lower Usman Dam to various tanks in the Federal Capital City. Some of the buildings are on flood plain. Any land that is not approved by Development Control is illegal, and therefore will be removed”,
One of the victims, a female, who din’t want her name mentioned, lamented: “I parked into this area in March, 2022 and just renewed my rent in March, 2023, which cost N400,000.00, where can I park to now? If I had known I wouldn’t have come to this area”.
Another, who simply gave his name as James, decried that despite the abatement notice, most of them did not believe that the authorities would come owing to previous warnings that weren’t backed by action.