By Salisu Sani-Idris, Abuja.
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has vowed to sustain the demolition of illegal structures, markets and shanties built on the encroached rail corridor in Gwarinpa.
Mr Ikharo Attah, Senior Special Assistant (Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement) to the FCT Minister, made the declaration, after a clean-up exercise at Gwarinpa on Friday in Abuja.
Attah explained that the exercise was coordinated by a joint Task Force, which comprised FCTA officials, Nigerian Army, the Nigeria Police Force and the Federal Road Safety Corps.
Other members of the team are Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigeria Immigration Service and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The remaining members include the Department of State Services, the FCT Directorate of Road Traffic Services and Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB).
Attah said that the joint task force stormed the Gwarimpa rail corridor unannounced to commence the demolition of shanties, market and butchers defacing the area.
He said that the shanties were not only cleared but were also burnt to ashes, with a view to preventing the return of the illegal structures and market.
Attah said that the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello and the FCT Commissioner of Police, Mr Sunday Babaji, had renewed commitment to clearing all criminal hideouts across the nation’s capital.
He said: “We are here for several reasons; the first one is there have been series of complaints over this place.
“Secondly, the issue of city sanitation is a problem here and general issues of insecurity here.
“This is Hayari market, we cleared it last year and this year, we have come again to clear it because the traders returned.
“The FCT Police Commissioner, Babaji and Police Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in Gwarinpa had gotten report of criminal activities going on here.
“The residents had also complained very bitterly of persons trying to hide here as cover to rob neighbourhoods, and that has been very alarming.”
Attah revealed that during the exercise, some people with illicit drugs were arrested by the NDLEA.
“The police also arrested three suspected criminals and the NDLEA arrested two people allegedly peddling drugs.
“This is a big task, but we are not given up. We will keep coming until they stop to come,” he added.