By Salisu Sani-Idris, Abuja.
The Department of Development Control, Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), on Sunday removed illegal structures on major road corridors and inside cashew plantations within the Apo Resettlement community in Abuja.
The FCTA city management officials, accompanied by security personnel, stormed the area with bulldozers for the operation.
They dislodged hundreds of artisans, food vendors and petty traders operating in structures that encroached on road corridors, thereby constituting public nuisance.
It was observed that most of the affected structures built by the road corridors and in cashew plantations near Urban Shelter and Angwan Tiv had been marked for demolition since 2021.
Addressing newsmen at the scene of the demolition, the Director of the department, Alhaji Murktar Galadima, explained that the operation, which targeted shanties and other structures constituting infractions in the city, followed due process.
Galadima described as “greatly disturbing and major infractions”, the conversion of cashew plantations into trading spots and residences, as they served as safe havens for criminals.
“As part of our process for demolition, we have to issue notices, which could be by way of marking and written notices.
“So, we are on our weekly clean-up exercise to clear shanties and other illegal structures in the city.
“The cashew planation in Apo resettlement area is overtaken by activities of some persons offering catering services.
“But from credible intelligence, what has been happening there is beyond eatery; sometimes it goes into criminality,” he said.
“The general warning is that we will go about removing the cashew plantations, because they are now giving those into criminalities a safe haven to operate,” he added.
The director said that the department had concluded arrangements to start removing the cashew plantations in the area and other places.
“We are having new strategies now to make sure that any person trying to go contrary to our regulations will be prosecuted accordingly.
“This is unlike before that; we would just demolish and go.
“Residents should see us as partners; so, they should always notice and report some of these infractions to us, to enable us act swiftly.
“This will also help to save the city from security challenges,” he said.