In a bid to pave way for the commencement of the upgrading of Jabi Mother Park, in Utako District, of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the authorities of the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), at the weekend demolished illegal structures inside the park.
Officials of the environment department of AMAC, accompanied by officials of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, with security back up from a joint team of Police and Naval guards, on Saturday stormed the park with bulldozers and several heavy duty trucks, and pulled down the shanties and removed other illegal structures at the park.
The areas affected were those overtaken by activities of dealers in scraps, building materials, auto mechanics and food vendors.
During the exercise, the officials after demolishing the structures set the debris ablaze, and disposed-off solid waste gathered inside the place, even as some of the affected person tried to savage what they could from their hitherto homes and shops.
Interestingly, many of the affected persons who spoke to Peoples Daily said though they were aware of the clean- up exercise, aimed at clearing the place for its planed upgrading process, said that they remained at the park, as they could not get another place to take their trades to within the Territory.
They however appealed to the government for provision of an alternative place, to enable them continue with their life after their eviction from the park.
Meanwhile, speaking to newsmen, after the exercise, HOD of Environment, AMAC, Hajiya Maimunatu Abubakar, said the essence of the exercise, was part of efforts towards clearing the park, to facilitate work on upgrading the park, as the council is ready to upgrade it to a standard motor park.
She explained that the place was allocated initially to be used as a motor park; but the council discovered that there are a lot of illegal activities going on inside the park, including the erection of shanties in the place.
Stressing that the contractors are waiting for the council to complete its clearing of the park, in order to begin work on the project, she said “as soon as the department finishes the exercise, they are going to immediately commence the upgrading of the park.”
Asked if the affected persons were adequately informed about the exercise, she revealed that for the past two months, the government duly served them with abatement notice, created a lot of awareness about the need for them to move out of the park.
She added that the council had created a place in Waru district, as an alternative place for the affected occupants of the illegal structures to take their trade to, but they refused to move.
“Before the exercise, we had held a meeting with clear understanding of things, where the Hon chairman of AMAC told them of the need to park out of the place, to an alternative place provided for them.
“The vehicles are parked outside the park, because their owners no space to carry out their activities inside the park, that’s why we are clearing them (illegal structures) out of the place.
“The Hon chairman of the council has already contracted this place, so as to upgrade the park to standard, to ensure that the place can for the purpose it is designed for.
On whether the exercise would be carried out at other AMAC motor parks having shanties and illegal activities within the council, she noted that: “this is the beginning of this exercise, as we are going to extend it to other motor parks in AMAC.”