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FCTA task team destroys criminal hideouts, shanties in Kwali

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The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) on Wednesday demolished notorious hotspots adjacent to the Federal Government College, in Kwali Area Council of the Territory.

This is part of its ongoing intensive crackdown on structures posing serious security threats to lives and property.

FCTA officials accompanied by joint security operatives demolished multiple illegal structures, mainly shanties built with zinc and woods used for block moulding, selling of petroleum products, food, and drinking joints, all operating under an electric high tension wire in the area.

Others affected include temporary buildings and groups of kiosks built by artisans, point-of-sale operators, and small-time vendors inside the boundaries of an unfinished retail centre and bearing an FCDA/DC demolition notice dated 5/8/2020 along the Kwali axis of the Abuja-Lokoja expressway.

The affected occupants were allowed time to remove their wares and belongings before the bulldozer cleared the structures.

It would be recalled that the FCTA had last week stormed Gwarimpa District and Kugbo, in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) demolishing multiple illegal structures, allegedly built on road corridors, following months of warnings with valid quit notices.

The Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement to the FCT Minister, Comrade Ikharo Attah, who led the enforcement team, said the place in recent times became a serious security concern to the government, as several criminal activities were traceable there.

Attah said it was discovered that the shanties were heavily harbouring criminals, leaving the government with no other choice than to clear them.

He said, “What informs the decision to storm Kwali, an area which I think we haven’t visited in several decades is the fact that we have security concerns here.

“Three months ago, we had an extremely ugly incident, as this particular dangerous spot, where the police and other security agencies had tried to come in, to carry out a raid against criminals, they had exchanged of gunfire with some persons here.

“Although they made massive arrests, we discovered that these shanties are heavily harbouring criminals. Because they are illegal structures, we had to come and clear them.

“There are several issues here about the safety of lives and property, as whatever is built here is just directly under the power high tension cable amidst several other illegalities.”

Speaking on whether the dislodged persons were duly notified, Attah said: ” You could see removal notices and markings on walls, as we marked everything three weeks ago, and we came and remarked again last week before returning this week for the actual removal.

According to him: “What the FCTA is sending out as a message to everyone is that our coming to Kwali, we are hoping to reach Abaji, Gwagwalada, Kuje and Bwari Area Councils, is that the entire 7,315 square kilometres of the FCT are all areas where enforcement can take place.

“The enforcement is not just limited to AMAC and Bwari alone, but to the entire FCT. So we are going to every single area, and we will be cleaning and removing all shanties and kiosks, especially those that are harbouring criminals that are wreaking havoc on this city.”

Reacting to the development, one of the affected persons, Ayuba Aliyu, a dealer in POS and Phone accessories in the place, said it has dislodged about five hundred people living and trading there, free of charge.

He, however, appealed for the government to provide succour to the affected persons, who are mainly youth, to prevent them from taking into any form of crime, given the prevailing insecurity situation.