There was confusion on Wednesday at the popular Mpaper community in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja when bulldozers drove into the community at about 10am, demolishing over 2,000 roadside shanties, containers and other illegal structures said to be obstructing traffic flow on the major roads in the area.
Recall that Mpape has survived several demolitions since 2004 after slums like Idu-Karimo and other squatter settlements were dislodged in Abuja.
LEADERSHIP reports that the latest demolition is coming after over three months of notices and warnings from the authorities.
However, this time, the FCTA explained that the demolition exercise was a thorough sanitation, which was requested by residents and landlords who had made passionate appeals to the Minister of FCT, to save them from the traffic gridlock that has made life unbearable in the area.
Chairman of the FCT Ministerial Committee on City Sanitation, Ikharo Attah, said that Mpape residents and landlords association begged the Minister to come to their aid as illegal commercial activities have taken over the road corridors.
Attah noted that the sanitation and demolition was long overdue and it was targeted at roadside shanties and other unapproved buildings obstructing the roads.
“Mpape demolition is requested by the residents and landlords who came to FCTA, requesting the Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, to come and clear the road corridors.
“So what we are doing is in line with the request of the people who want the road corridors to be reclaimed so that there will be ease of movement. As a responsible government, we responded to the cries of the people.
“We gave them enough notice, but many of them were basking in the euphoria that nobody can clear Mpape. One of the residents that have lived in Mpape for over 20 years has confessed that people can now breathe in the fresh road, because of the widened road,” Attah said.
Also speaking, Mr. Peter Olumuji, Secretary, Command and Control, FCTA, said that many of the shanties and the demolished illegal structures were being occupied by criminal elements.
Olumuji noted that overtime, reports have shown that criminal activities were on the increase in Mpape, because of so many shanties providing covers for criminals.
“This part of Mpape harbors the highest numbers of criminal elements and a lot of criminal activities which the residents have been complaining about. What the FCTA is doing here today is to ensure that the mandate of securing the city is carried out,” he stated.