By Chioma Nnodim
In a bid to safeguard lives and properties in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, have commenced profiling and massive raid of notorious bridges and subways within Central Business District, CBD, Maitama and Wuse Districts of Abuja.
Commencing the operation on Monday, FCTA, through its Joint Taskforce on City Sanitation stormed and raided subways and bridges around the three Arms zone, especially roads connecting Women Affairs Ministry, Police headquarters, Court of Appeal and Federal Secretariat.
The team also raided tunnels and green areas beside Abia House, connecting to River Plate Park through to National Mosque and Yar’Adua center, including Millennium and Chescon Parks, in Maitama, and Wuse, where informal activities are taking place, side by side with people of questionable characters living under the facilities.
Coordinator of the Taskforce, Mukhtar Galadima, who led the operation, said it was pursuant to the directive of the FCT Minister, following complaints from residents in the city alleging the misuse and abuse of such facilities. Galadima, who doubles as the Director, FCT Department of Development Control, described the sanitary condition within and around the affected facilities as very disturbing, which calls for immediate drastic measures to mitigate.
He said: “The honourable FCT Minister directed that we should take necessary action, and today we are a fact-finding mission, to know what is really happening under the bridges and subways. From today, we can come out with our plan of action on the next step to be taken. “With what we have seen today, it is really unfortunate that these things are happening in the city, where informal activities are taken place under the bridges and subways, as well as people of questionable characters are living there. We met some under 10 years kids under one the bridges.
“Considering the issues of security and looking at the these people residing under the bridges, it is of great concern to the FCT Administration, and we will not lay it low as we have to take it up immediately. “We have to step up our action on combing and monitoring these facilities and activities taken place there.”
Also speaking, Secretary, Command and Control Centre, of the FCT Security Services Department, Dr. Peter Olumuji, recalled that residents of the capital city have been raising concern on how whenever they transverse those locations criminal elements coming out from the bushes, snatching their phone and bags, robbing them of their valuables even in their cars when they don’t wind up. Immediately they do this, they run into the bridges to hibernate.
“That is why we have decided to come and profile the canals and bridges within the capital cities, and what we have seen is so disturbing. “We have all the security agencies represented here in this operation. We have the Nigerian Police, Civil Defense, the DSS, the NDLEA, Immigration, so what we will do now is to commence effective clamp down on these criminal elements under the bridges.
On number of arrest made, Olumuji said: “We made three arrest under the bridges today and these arrests concerns more of drug related issues, and we have handed them over to the NDLEA for further investigation and profiling.”