Stories by Stanley Onyekwere
In furtherance to its bolstered effort towards maintaining the aesthetic status of structures and reducing incidence of building collapse in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), officials of the Department of development control, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), at the weekend ejected some squatters inside an abandoned half-built structure, in Garki area of the Territory.
The officials, who were accompanied by a detached team of police officers, after rejecting the occupants of the abandoned structure located on Oke Agbe Street, Garki, which hitherto served as a living home and business centre to the affected place, also sealed up the premises, by pasting its notice on the gate of the building.
However, at the time of the eviction, most of the squatters were absent, while a few of them present were allowed to remove their belongings from the building, before the officials locked up the site.
Speaking to newsmen at the site, the Development Control’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Kalu Emetu, said that the exercise was part of its precautionary measures against the reoccurring incidence of avoidable building collapse in the Territory and country at large.
He said that the Department on discovering that the ejected illegal squatters hitherto had taken over the two storey building, which the developer (name not given) , abandoned after completing decking work, adding that the state of structure had become deteriorated.
According to him, the abandoned structure with many squatters living inside not only deface the beauty of the neighbourhood, but poses a serious human and environmental dangers to a lot of people living in the area.
He noted that the growing number of squatters in abandoned structures around the nation’s capital city centre poses a serious security threat to residents of the Territory, hence the FCT administration’s intensified clamp down on the menace.
“We don’t intend to inflict pains on residents, but we won’t allow illegalities to go on unabated, especially in the housing sector. We want to prevent avoidable tragedies from happening in the FCT,” the PRO stressed.
He said the developer of the property is expected to come to the Department, before a structural integrity test or any other action would be carried out on the site.
Some of the ejected squatters with their property now outside the site, who spoke to PeoplesDaily, with despair on their faces, said they were taken aback, as there no prior quit notice served on them, as some of them were paying a N2, 500 per month while others pay accumulative of the money as annual rent.
They complained that following the sudden nature of the incident, they have been thrown into a state of hopelessness, as most of them had nowhere to relocate to.