The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) on Thursday blamed the rising rate of crimes in the nation’s capital on the proliferation of shanty towns.
“Shanty towns keep springing up in all corners. Henceforth, we shall not condone them in the FCT,” Adamu Gwary, Director of Security Services in the FCTA, said when he led a team to demolish illegal structures at Down Jabi community in Abuja.
Mr Gwary said that such settlements had become safe havens for criminals in the FCT.
He said that the demolition would have been carried out earlier but was delayed “due to so many considerations”.
He said that the exercise had to be carried out “in the interest of the general public”.
The Director of FCTA Development Control, Muktar Galadima, said that the department had carried out adequate sensitisation and held several meetings with the villagers then marked the structures long time before the exercise.
Mr Galadima advised people in the affected community not to build any commercial structure along the road corridor.
“This is supposed to be an indigenous community but the proliferation of these commercial activities are attracting men of the underworld and even making the environment dirty,” he said.
The Chairman, FCT Task Team on City Sanitation, Ikharo Attah, explained that most of the shops and brothels that were turning the place to an eyesore were removed at the instance of the original inhabitants of the FCT, “whose buildings were not touched”.
“If you go around the buildings, some places have been marked for about eight times without being demolished. At a point, the people thought that government was not serious.
“When empathy is brought to the fore and pity is icing the cake of enforcement, people think that the government is not serious.
“The department of development control has come here several times to issue warnings,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the FCTA had issued several warnings and demolition notices to shop owners and some residents of the illegal settlement.
It particularly advised them to remove their belongings.
The warnings were, however, said not to have been taken seriously by those operating businesses and living there.
Some people, whose properties were affected, told journalists that they were not given enough notice before the demolition, describing the exercise as “the height of insensitivity on the part of government”.
A man, who simply identified himself as Moses, explained his grievances in an interview with NAN.
“We are all Nigerians; what they are doing is not good,” he said. “They did not give us any notice; all we saw were the bulldozers. Unfortunately, our political leaders are not here to speak for us.”