The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) on Friday, December 17, demolished a notorious slum in Wuse Zone 3 occupied by scavengers, prostitutes, criminals, and drug peddlers.
Speaking on behalf of the administration, the Senior Special Adviser to the FCT Minister on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement, Comrade Ikharo Attah, who led the demolition, vowed to sustain the exercise to rid the city of all manner of environmental problems.
In an interview with newsmen immediately after the exercise, Attah said that the slum is not acceptable in a dream city.
“This is the heart of the city and must not be turned into a den of criminals, scavengers, and prostitutes,” he said.
“In the heart of the city, where you have scavengers, criminals, brothels, and shanties, there are bound to be drug peddlers who sell drugs to them.”
“When you get there, you see ladies’ ID cards whose bags were stolen, even those of policemen. If we remove this place, they won’t have a place to peddle drugs again or use it as a criminal hideout. We will keep coming, we keep cleaning, and eventually they would have to leave the city.
While speaking on the essence of the enforcement exercise, Attah said that it is “part of our collaborative effort with relevant agencies and the department in FCTA,”
“The coordinator of AMMC, Tlp. Umar Shauib, got a petition from the neighborhood and was minuted to my office and we galvanised relevant agencies together as a team and we came here to clear it. We have cleared it before, but sadly, many of them rebuild it within one or two months.
“We felt so bad that we could see the scavengers in their large numbers returning very quickly, the illegal shops, shanties, and brothels all returning. What we have observed that makes it more painful is that, despite FCT minister Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello’s commitment and conviction to keep Abuja clean, many people believe that the holiday season is when the administration will not be doing much work, so they are using it to quickly rebuild to make brisk business. If we do not work towards the end of the year, we will be using a lot of resources to work in January.
“They said that they want to use it to make quick sales during the season, but if we leave it, when January comes, they will say, ‘January is a tough month.’ They want to recover all the money they have spent during the festive season. We are telling them, you can’t build this is a rail corridor. You can imagine what happens to a rail corridor if people are building provocatively. It’s very disturbing, but we are determined to keep the city clean.
“This is a rail corridor. This particular lot has not been allocated and awarded for construction. If we sustain enforcement going forward, we will not have any problems. If not, they will come back. We have cleared here before and they came back. We will keep clearing it and ensure that it is clear of all nuisances and enchromants. The park and recreation department is looking for a way to manage the greens around here before the rail line comes onboard, “he explained.
Meanwhile, the Assistant Director, Monitoring and Enforcement of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), Kaka Bello said the purpose of the exercise is to remove all forms of environmental nuisances around the proposed rail corridor.
“There are a lot of scavengers who have colonised this place and we felt that such things should not exist at the city centre. Our daily routine is to ensure that such environmental nuisance,” he said.