Abuja - Residents of some settlements in Katampe area of Abuja were on Tuesday thrown into sorrow as officials of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) embarked on demolition of illegal settlements in the area.
The affected settlements are Katampe extension, where shanties that belonged to some scavengers were removed and Gishiri Village.
The FCTA departments involved in the joint clean-up exercise were Abuja Metropolitan Management Council, Department of Development Control, Abuja Environmental Protection Board and the Satellite Towns Development Agency.
At Katampe extension, the scavengers wailed as their shanties were demolished.
Mohammed Abdullahi, their spokesperson, complained that it was insensitive for government to evict them from a place, where they lived for several years.
"We have been here for about five years, struggling to survive. These property they are destroying mean a lot to us; this is unfair. They should allow poor people to survive in Abuja,’’ he said.
At Gishiri Village, several newly-constructed houses were demolished as residents scrambled to save some of their belongings.
Most of the residents complained that they did not make alternative arrangement for accommodation because they were not notified ahead of the exercise.
Medina Adebayo said that Gishiri was her ancestral village.
She said it was wrong for FCTA to demolish the village since the indigenes had not been properly relocated.
"This is my ancestral home. They have not compensated us for acquiring this place therefore, cannot just demolish.
"I was with the Director of Development Control yesterday and he assured me that they will not demolish this place, but I am surprised at what I am seeing now,'' she said.
"Mercy Ezekiel, nursing mother of a two-week old baby, said the demolition of her residence would negatively affect her baby’s health.
She carried the baby and pleaded with the demolition team to spare her property because of the baby.
Development Control District Officer in charge of Katampe, Kalu Amadi, said that the "clean-up" was necessary to prepare the area for provision of infrastructure.
He advised Abuja residents to be cautious in the acquisition of parcels of land, saying that plots that were not allocated by the FCT Minister were illegal.
"You can see that most of the demolished houses are built on the road. FCT residents should desist from acquiring plots of land from unauthorised sources,’’ he advised.
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