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FCTA continues demolition of shops at Utako

THE Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has continued the demolition of shops located along the Tunde Idiagbon Way in the Utako area of the FCT.

The demolition exercise at Utako had begun as early as 5:00 am on Monday, with security operatives, including men of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) present.

The exercise saw the removal of several shops, leaving many traders displaced.

In an interview with The ICIR, one of the traders, Sadiq Jamiu, said there was no prior notice to shop owners before the exercise took place.

“I sell electronics here. Before I could bring any goods out, everything had been demolished. There was no information. A shop I rented for N400,000 look at how it is. Without notice.

“This can make people go and steal, because we all are trying to hustle, but they have broken everything. Even to eat for some people this morning is a problem. If I haven’t lost money here, I have lost nothing less than N1.5 million,” he said.

Friday Michael, who ran a car wash at the scene before the demolition, also said he was not given prior notice.

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“They didn’t tell us anything. There was no information. Yesterday at 5:00 am a bulldozer landed here. Look at our property outside here. Some of our boys have been locked up at the Utako Police Station because they claimed they challenged the government,” he said.

However, a trader Anthony Ade, whose shop was located in an unaffected part of the park, told The ICIR that the shop owners had received a prior warning from the FCT.

“I heard that they gave them warning, but I don’t know how long it lasted,” he said.

Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement to FCT Minister Ikharo Attah also told The ICIR that shops being pulled down had been marked for demolition at least three years ago.

“If you check, you will see markings on the walls. All these shops were marked in 2019. We remarked them again last weekend. If we do not follow the Masterplan, riffraffs and hoodlums will take over. We saw an Indian Hemp farm on the other side, back of Utako Market. We destroyed it. We removed these truck drivers and mechanics at the side. All these structures that are to be removed, we are removing them.

“The original structures have been approved which is this new one you see. All these old ones ought to have been removed. All these people have been told to go many years ago,” he said.

To restore the distorted Abuja Masterplan, demolition of buildings has become quite common within the FCT.

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Last week, Attah disclosed that the FCT Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello, had ordered the massive demolition of illegal structures within the city.

“What is going on here is a total clean-up in Utako, Wuye and Tunde Idiagbon connecting points. The minister gave us the order and we started the joint operations,” he said.

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Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via [email protected]

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