Residents Weep As FCTA Reclaims Gishiri land For Infrastructure Development

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…roots out criminals

By Joyce Remi-Babayeju

There were outbursts of cries by residents of Gishiri community on Wednesday, when officials of the Federal Capital Territory (FCTA) moved in bulldozers to demolish the unplanned and scattered structures in the area to reclaim the land for planned infrastructure development.

According to FCDA, the community which is under Katampe District was last visited for demolition in 2006, since then, the residents continued to build on high-power tension and water channels despite warning from the government.

Most victims acknowledged that the structures were marked in March, April and early May in 2023, but neglected several notices.

A young lady who was affected by the demolition lamented, “I parked into this area in March 2022 and just renewed my rent in March 2023, which cost N400,000.00, where can I park to now? If I had known I wouldn’t have come to this area.”

Senior Special Assistant to the Minister of FCT on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement, Ikharo Attah, said the demolition was necessitated by the need to reclaim the place for infrastructure development.

He said the victims took advantage of the proximity of the area to the Federal Capital City and flouted the Abuja master plan rules, turning the area to a haven for bad eggs.

Attah regretted that some unauthorized structures in the area were hideouts for drug dealers and suspected criminals that terrorize mostly Maitama and Asokoro residents in the city.

“We came here today to attack the triple illegalities associated with squatter settlements, the criminals’ den inside the cashew plantation in Gishiri, where we recovered cocaine and other hard drugs.”

“It has been cleared because we had warned the indigents about giving out places for the erection of makeshift structures.”

” Today, the bulldozer hit the area. All the cashew trees have given way for the removal exercise so that we can save the city; those that built into the flood corridor, and the issue of contravening FCT Urban and Regional planning Act as well as the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) Act, which stipulates what people are expected to do on land. All of these infractions are removed, he said.

The Director, Department of Development Control, Murkhtar Galadima after the demolition, said the exercise which is mother of all demolitions was to rid the city of illegal structures.

“The cleanup exercise is to rid the city of illegal structures. When you see demolition like this is because of the magnitude of illegal structures, in this particular area, over 10 years ago we have been marking and removing but no headway, but today we got a headway.”

According to Galadima the area is a water pipeline corridor coming from lower Usman Dam to various tanks in town, some buildings are on flood plain, this demolition is the mother of all demolition because it contains everything. Any land that is not approved by development control is illegal, and therefore will be removed” he said.

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