The City Management Team of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, on Tuesday began demolition of shanties built under bridges by illegal squatters.
The team, supported by security personnel, also sent the squatters packing as part of efforts to strengthen security measures to secure the lives and properties of residence.
Mukhtar Galadima, Director Development Control, who led the team in Abuja, said that the exercise was a fallout of the sensitisation of the squatters who were asked to vacate the areas or be forcefully removed.
Mr Galadima, who was represented by Hassan Ogbole, Deputy Director, Monitoring and Enforcement, Development Control, FCTA, explained that the exercise was in response to the FCT Minister’s directives that the areas should be cleaned up.
According to him, the directive stemmed from the security concerns around and under bridges in the FCT.
“We went out in January to enlighten the illegal squatters, who are taking refuge in the area on the security threats their habitation poses to residents in the area and asked them to vacate the areas.
“We are here as a follow up to that task of cleaning up the shanties and other nuisance within and around subways and under bridges in the capital city.”
He said that the exercise, which began with the cleanup of the bridge by Abia House, along Ahmadu Bello Way, would cover 10 more bridges across the city.
To ensure that the squatters do not return to the area, the director said that the City Management Team had discussed with relevant stakeholders and departments how to make the best use of the space.
The director said that the stakeholders had recommended that the operator of the park in the area should take over the management of the under bridge.
“Gone are the days where spaces are recovered, and they are not being put to good use.
“Therefore, we have proposed, subject to the approval of the FCT Minister, to hand over the spaces under the bridges to park managers to manage them and put them to good use,” he said.
Mr Galadima expressed concern that some of the pillars of the bridges have been exposed to erosion and other engineering challenges due to the activities of the squatters and other scavengers.
He disclosed that a provision was made for scavengers and Panteka in Wasa layout, adding that the FCT Administration would organise and profile them and possibly relocate them to the area.
“We certainly don’t want them scattered all over the place,” he said.
Also speaking, Dr Peter Olumuji, Secretary, Command and Control, Department of Security Service, FCTA, said that clearing the bridges of miscreants would ensure the safety of lives and property of residents.
Mr Olumuji said that the public have been complaining about the unwholesome activities of criminal elements taking place under the bridges.
He explained that most of the time, when they rub their victims, they run down under the bridge to take refuge.
“We will make under the bridges in FCT very hot for all the criminals.
“As we cleared all the bridges, the Police Division in the affected locations would secure the place pending the taking over of the space by the assigned park manager,” he added.
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