By Stanley Onyekwere
In continuation of its intensive demolition of illegal structures, the Department of Development Control of the FCT Administration yesterday demolished brothels, beer parlours and other makeshift structures at Down Jabi settlement, in the heart of Abuja, the nation’s capital city.
In particular, as FCTA officials with their bulldozers stormed and started pulling down the affected structures, the atmosphere was turned to tears and yellings by the owners, who lamented that their means of livelihood destroyed, while attempts to resist the exercise was quelled by security operatives who fired teargas canisters and gunshots in the air to scare them.
Apart from owners and operators of houses and shops, commercial sex workers also joined in the lamentations as no fewer than four brothels were equally demolished during the exercise.
PeoplesDaily learnt that prior to exercise, the FCTA had issued several warnings and demolition notices to shop owners and some residents of the illegal settlement to remove their belongings from the area, for not only distorting the Abuja Master plan but also serving as refuge for criminals.
These warnings were however, said not to have been taken seriously by those operating businesses and living there even after their shops and houses were marked by the authorities about eight times.
However, some of those whose property were affected told journalists that they were not given enough notice before the demolition, describing it as height of insensitivity on the part of government.
A man who simply identified himself as Moses said: “We are all Nigerians what they are doing is not good. They don’t give us notice, they demolished our houses, I don’t know why our political leaders are not here”.
Similarly, a food seller, who refused to mention he name said: “They told us that they will come but nobody belief, it was yesterday they supposed to come but we did not see them, even yesterday (Wednesday) I cooked very well, but today I didn’t cook well.
Explaining the exercise, Director of Development Control, Mukhtar Galadima said the Administration had carried out adequate sensitisation meetings with the villagers, and marked the structures long time before the exercise.
“My advice is that they should not build any commercial structure along this corridor because this is supposed to be an indigenous community but the proliferation of these commercial activities are attracting men of the underworld and even making the environment dirty.” he noted.
Also speaking, FCTA Director of Security, Malam Adamu Gwary noted that the proliferation of shanties in the community made it a haven for criminals, which the FCT Administration will definitely not condone, hence the demolition.
Gwary adds: “This notice is timely, it would have been done during the first term of Muhammad Bello (FCT Minister) but due to so many considerations we stepped some of these things down but something has to be done and this is in the interest of the general public”.
Not left out, Chairman of FCT Task Team on City Sanitation, Ikharo Attah disclosed that mainly most of the shops that were turning the place to an eyesore and some brothels were removed at the instance of the original inhabitants of the FCT whose buildings were not touched.
“If you go around the buildings some places have been marked for about 8 times and the people believe that the government is not serious because when empathy is brought to the fore and pity is iceing the cake of enforcement people think that the government is not serious. The Department of Development Control has come here severally to issue warnings”, he stressed.