….evictees risk prosecution, rehabilitation
By Stanley Onyekwere
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has commenced intensive clampdown on illegal occupants of uncompleted buildings, as part of its measures to tackle insecurity in the nation’s capital city.
This move, according to the FCTA was due to the findings that most of uncompleted buildings are mostly where hoodlums stay and perpetrate their nefarious activities.
To this end, officials of Development Control Department in collaboration with Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) and Department of Security Services of the FCTA, yesterday visited some of notorious buildings situated in Wuye and Maitama Districts of Abuja, where no fewer than 150 people are occupying.
Speaking during the exercise, Director, Development Control Department, Mukhtar Galadima, said this time around, they are not looking at demolition, but how to remove hoodlums from some of these uncompleted buildings.
Galadima noted that the exercise was in line with FCT Administration’s policy that nobody should transact any business or stay in or under any uncompleted building in Abuja.
He stressed there are risks associated with uncompleted buildings, as no one can ascertain the integrity of the structure, because it has been abandoned for a long time.
He explains: “Now in collaboration with Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) and Department of Security Services of the FCTA, we will soon start evacuating these people (occupants of uncompleted buildings) and forwarding to the FCT Social Development Secretariat for possible rehabilitation and prosecution.
“The exercise is part of city management, and city management is a continuous process. Now we are looking at angle of security, most of these uncompleted buildings are mostly where hoodlums stay and perpetrate their nefarious activities.
“We visited Wuye and Maitama Districts. At an uncompleted building on Shehu Shagari Way, where we have about ninety-three inhabitants under one building, and such circumstances pose a threat to security. In Wuye, we have some of these uncompleted buildings where these hoodlums go to stay.
“You could recall our operation in Ruga settlement, so when they were dislodged from there, some of them moved Wuye, that’s we have to move in and continue the exercise, and it’s not a one-time exercise.”
On whether notices were served prior to the evacuation exercise, the Director said “they were given enough notices. For instance, on the uncompleted building in Shehu Shagari Way, Maitama, in 2017 we were there, 2018 we were there, and this year we visited there, and warned the occupants to leave. It’s a continuous process, but this time around, we will do it once and for all
“FCT Administration’s that nobody should transact any business or stay in or under any uncompleted building in Abuja. So, we are out to enforce that such policy and regulations, to make sure that people don’t do any business or live in any uncompleted building.”
He however called on owners of the uncompleted buildings to make sure that they complete their buildings, and make them habitable, and cautioned that people should not go to stay or transact business under uncompleted buildings.
One of the affected inhabitants in Maitama District, Evangelist Livinus Okeji said most of them have been doing business inside the uncompleted building adjacent Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) building for almost a year.
He however appealed for more time for the about sixty businesses to vacate the premises, as the Yuletide season is fast approaching.
“The year is already ended, so if the government can let us manage ourselves, and we see what we can do next year, as things are very difficult now,” he stressed.