In a sustained move to tackle the menace of insecurity and environmental challenges in Abuja, the FCT Enforcement task team raided and removed hundreds of shanties allegedly harbouring criminals in Durumi 1 and 2 areas of the nation’s capital city.
The enforcement team accompanied by joint security personnel drawn from Military and Paramilitary agencies, on Tuesday stormed the area with three bulldozers, and cleared the affected makeshift structures mainly made of wood and zincs allegedly harbouring criminals and other structures erected without the necessary approval from the relevant authorities.
In particular, the team removed structures within a large Garden and Timber shed situated inside tree plantation, attachments to houses and perimeter fence of a Junior secondary school and Primary Healthcare Centre, and clusters of shops serving as a community in the area.
One of the affected persons, who makes furniture, James Aleke, claimed that he had been there since 2008, but the exercise has left him and his family stranded, as there is no other place to relocate to.
He said: “I have never seen this kind of thing before, which is not making our lives easy. And my wife also is equally affected, her own shop is right behind mine.
“Going to get a shop in town is not just for the ordinary man, and the little place we are managing, have been demolished without notice.
“For me, I will just use my contacts to be making furniture pending when God would bless us with another place, but Government should come to our aid and rescue because the suffering is getting too much”.
However, while admitting that there are a lot of criminal elements in the area, Aleke noted that most of the dislodged persons that are doing legitimate things should have been spared from the exercise.
On his part, the Sarkin Yaki, Durumi, Hon John Bawa, said the community has been having attacks and a lot of security challenges, and the valuable property of members of the community have been lost in several attacks.
According to him; “The rate of killings has reduced to a minimum degree in recent times, as it was almost every week, you will see dead body, and each it happens, we report to the Police for necessary action.
“So, we are not saying to the action, but the only complaint we have is that the community leaders should be properly informed, so as to put their house in order. This is because, at times in the process of removing the shanties, where feel these criminals are been harboured, the indigenes’ houses are tampered with.
“As far as the residential structures of the indigenes are not tampered with for now, I’m calling on my people to calm down, and after this exercise, the community will have to sit down, plan the market well, so that we will have a market, as it is needed in any settlement”.
Earlier, the Senior Special Assistant to the FCT Minister on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement, Comrade Ikharo Attah, said it was upon the FCT Minister’s directive, the Team moved into the area to address extreme notoriety, distinguishing in forms of shanties. Attah disclosed that the place is where police reports indicate that there have been very massive secret killings.
“You could see that for the first time, the indigenes are out leading the machines to areas where people come to rob and attack them, so we are doing the clearing and we are continuing that operation based on what the Minister had asked us to do.
“We have given notice before coming for the actual removal exercise, and about two months the team had even started demolition there, but stopped, only to return yesterday to continue and complete the exercise”, he stated.
Similarly, Kaka Bello, Head Monitoring and Enforcement, Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), said although there is a lot of reported criminal activities, the environmental issue if not abetted will lead to further things which are not good for the environment and inhabitants there.