By Stanley Onyekwere
Officials of Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC) yesterday kicked off sensitisation of settlers in Ruga Village, one of the illegal settlements on Abuja Metro rail corridors, expected to be cleared before its test run.
Accordingly, the sensitisation will be followed by comprehensive marking of all structures to pave way for total removal exercise on March 13.
This is first in the series of sensitization meetings with the stakeholders in the various railway corridors over illegal settlements around Kukwaba, Dei Dei, Gwagwa, Kuchigoro and others, with a view to giving them enough time to vacate the railways corridors and station access ways.
Recall that ahead of the Abuja railway test run to the public, FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, had directed relevant agencies to clear all illegal settlements and structures obstructing rail corridor and station access ways.
Addressing the stakeholders in Ruga, AMMC Coordinator, Malam Shiabu Umar, disclosed that because the Metro line runs through the community, all structures are going to be removed to pave way for a hitch-free operation of the rail.
Umar informed them that the removal exercise would be done in line with the policy of the current FCTA to pursue demolition of illegal structures in FCT with human face.
This, he said explains why AMMC through the Development Control Department commenced sensitisation campaign since last week, to enable them relocate to another place.
According to him, in about two weeks time, the Council through Development Control will immediately commence removal of all structures in the community.
The AMMC boss while noting that even though Abuja is for everybody, but governed by law, insisted that it explains why the structures in Ruga must go, as the the owners developed them, after settling there without the approval of the appropriate authorities.
He reiterated that only indigenes are supposed to be compensated or resettled whenever there is reason to displace them.
He however urged the Ruga community leaders to put record of people there, for possible palliative measures, to cushion the effect of the exercise.
Also speaking, the Ruga Village Head, Ahmadu Adamu, assured the government of support for the success of the exercise.
He commended the government for not taken unawares, as it used to be before when they were forced to leave their place of their abode.
He however made passionate appeal for the government to help relocate them to another place, to enable them to continue living, as they had no other place to resettle.