By Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja
No fewer than 25 houses have been pulled down in Kyami district of Abuja by the department of Development Control, Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).
Director of the department, Muktar Galadima who led the exercise on Wednesday disclosed this while briefing journalists that the FCTA would never condone land racketeering and grabbing, and would ensure correction of all infractions and abuses of the Abuja Master Plan.
“The FCT Administration has already made it clear that the actions and activities of land racketeers cannot and will never be condoned. That’s why we are removing all those illegal developments.
“About 25 solid structures were removed, and this is not limited to that estate (Destiny Estate) alone, it’s a continuous exercise and we will remove all illegal structures across the Territory.
“So, what you see here is a continuation of the exercise in tackling the issue of land racketeers and land grabbers in Abuja,” he said.
Galadima warned that “As always, we strongly advise the public to always ensure compliance and obey the rules and regulations guiding developments in the nation’s capital.
“Abuja is a planned city and you cannot just wake up, cut a chunk of land for yourself and be selling or building for whatever purpose. We will find out and we will surely remove such illegalities and also punish those involved.”
The Nation reports that, about two weeks ago, Galadima also led his men on a similar mission to a property in Lugbe, located behind Dunamis Church, and pulled down structures on another illegal estate allegedly being handled by four developers: Seman Metropolis Estate, Excellent Mega City, St. Michael Villa and Had Hadassan Estate.
In all the exercises, the developers were alleged to have neither allocation papers nor development plan approval to embark on such developments.
Similarly, the director also issued a 14-day ultimatum to occupants of an illegal building materials market on N16 road corridor in Karsana district, near Gwarinpa district. \According to him, government was desirous of commencing construction on the road but because of its human face, his team was at the market to first sensitize the traders and find a peaceful way of removing the market without tears.
He said: “Because of the magnanimity of this Administration, we first of all had to sit down with them, tell them the mission and give them room to also make contributions regarding the intended exercise.
“So we told them we would return in a week’s time, but they pleaded for more time, they asked for one month to take out their materials and valuables, but that one month is too long a time, so we agreed on two weeks.”
Warning that his bulldozers would remove all structures in market at expiration of the ultimatum, except indigenous structures, Galadima advised them to relocate into the international building materials market in Dei-Dei, revealing that they were many empty shops in the market to accommodate them.
“This place is a corridor of a road, so the only structures that we will leave here are indigenous structures, belonging to the natives of the area. So any other structure, whether it is permanent or it is temporarily, as long as it is within the corridor of the road, it will be removed.”
N16 road is a long stretch of expressway that traverses Gwarinpa, Jahi, bursts out at Gishiri, connecting Shehu Shagari way.
Chairman of building materials traders in the market, Augustin Nwachukwu, while responding on behalf of the traders, expressed appreciation for understanding shown by Development Control officials and submitted that they were aware of status of the market and were not surprised.
He however, appealed for an alternative place even if it were temporary, to enable them to operate and feed their families and dependents, even as he berated they were been owed and rushing to move out would risk getting their monies from customers who bought on credit difficult if not impossible.
Nwachukwu said: “Since 2012 that I came here, I know that this place is temporal and one day, government will visit us, but we are pleading with government to temper justice with mercy. We have families and many people we are feeding and this place is where we get our daily bread.
“We have sold to others on credit, and they are yet to pay us back our money, we plead with government to give us more time so we can recover the debts. The two weeks is not enough because to remove the shops is not easy.
“But we appreciate them, because they are very kind to us. If it was before, they would even come and demolish in the night, but they came to discuss with us to show that they have human sympathy and we appreciate it.”