… begins demolition of 2,400 shanties at Ruga
By Stanley Onyekwere
No fewer than 1,000 structures were demolished within an illegal settlement in Ruga Community, located on the fringes of railway corridors, around Kukwuaba District of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Our correspondent reports that more than 2,400 makeshift structures built with sacks and zinc would be demolished at the end of a demolition exercise, which was commenced yesterday, in the densely populated area located near National Stadium, within Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC).
According to the FCT Department of Development Control, the exercise became necessary to curtail festering security threats around the nation’s capital.
Speaking with newsmen during the exercise, Director of the Department, Mukhtar Galadima disclosed that apart from security threats to Abuja, the shanties were becoming serious environmental hazard within the railway corridors, hence must not be allowed to continue existing.
Galadima also vowed that the exercise would be sustained with weekly monitoring to ensure that the hoodlums do not reassemble.
According to him, the illegal squatters are notorious of defying the laws, and disregarding government orders.
“This is in continuation of implementation of the FCT mandate of the next level by ensuring that we checkmate the issue of security challenges as well as bringing orderliness and sanitation to the nation’s capital city environment.
“So far, we have cleared over three hundred shanties (temporary structures made of batchers and sacks. The work is ongoing, so we will continue till the end.
“We had series of consultation with them, because in the spirit of the current administration, we don’t just move in, we to do some engagement and consultation, so that the people would be fully aware. And that’s what we have done with the community here.
“We are going to make some investigations, so as to know what is the land is meant for, is it allocated, but if it’s not allocated to anyone, what is the intention of the FCTA over this land, then we can tell the relevant authorities or department to take over and do what is necessary.
“We are going to sustain the effort, because we are not going to abandon the place, that’s why in the next two weeks we will come back, and if we discover that they are back to the place, we will come and do what is necessary”.
Similarly, the Chairman, FCT Ministerial Taskforce on City Sanitation, Ikharo Attah said the place was growing too fast and had certainly became notorious for rape and other crimes.
Attah noted that about 2,400 shanties around the area would be removed and the sanitation would be sustained.
His words: “From my own assessment, what will eventually go here will be about 2,400, because even as at today, the bulldozers are still working.
“It’s really painful, but they (displaced persons), should understand that the city centre is not for everybody, they should go to the suburbs.”
On his part, Secretary to the Chief of Ruga Community, Usman Abubakar, who made a passionate appeal to the government to relocate them to another place, as they have been living there for more than twenty-five years.
“We don’t have any right whatsoever to question the demolition of structures by the relevant authorities of government , because they are doing the right thing.
“We will be satisfied if government can give us a small land in this Abuja, so that we will occupy and settle down, so we are looking for any assistance from the government, in order to stop doing this kind of thing.
“Considering that our children especially youth and our women are living here, but now many of us have nowhere to go from here.
“We are pleading with the government to consider helping us, because the incident has affected at least five hundred households”, he stressed.