By Chioma Nnodim
Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, on Wednesday demolished illegal shanties, batchers in the three arms zone, National Assembly, in Abuja.
The FCTA demolition team which defied the early morning downpour moved in the heavy duty machines by 6:30am to carry out the operation.
The makeshift structures were mostly used as shops, houses, drinking joints and business centres.
Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement to FCT Minister, Ikharo Attah in an interview with journalists explained that in order to make the three arms zone safe and improve the aesthetics of the area the administration had to remove all the illegal shanties and batchers.
According to the SSA, “We came to remove batchers and shanties, illegal containers around the National Assembly area, the three arms zone and this is not good at all. With the opening of the road the FCT Minister Malam Muhammad Bello discovered it and we had to remove them this morning.”
“We discovered that people live here, sell here and we had to remove them in order to make the National Assembly safe and to improve the aesthetics. The FCTA that built the National Assembly will be coming in here and will look at the official land use and redesign to suit the area.
“Because you can’t have all these sensitive offices and have all these people here, some of the houses people are living here were used for construction sites in the 80s and it has been decommissioned a long time ago and everyone should go”, he said.
He noted, “About 100 shanties were removed. The three arms zone is largely for sensitive National offices.”
“There is no going back on removal of all illegal shanties and batchers in Abuja,” Attah said.
Director Development Control, Muktar Galadima, said the administration is making arrangements to have a good design that would fit into the existing environment.
He said, “We gave them time to pack their things, so we are here to remove the shanties. Looking at the composition of this area is a three arms zone, so the presence of these structures is not a good image for the country and we want to come up with a good design that would fit into the existing environment.”
A food vendor, Mrs. Gift Akpan whose structure was demolished, acknowledged that they knew from the onset that the place was illegal and they knew that one-day, they would be asked to leave.
“We knew one day something like this would happen but we are just begging them to give us another place to do our business,” she said.