Abuja Demolitions: Nine years after, Mpape falls to bulldozers, 2000 structures affected
Nine years after its botched plan to demolish several structures in Mpape, a bustling town adjacent the highbrow Maitama District in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory Administration FCTA on Wednesday rolled out its bulldozers, pulling down over 2, 000 illegal structures in the area.
Most of the affected structures were roadside shanties, containers and others said to be obstructing traffic flow.
Wednesday’s demolition came after over three months of official notices and warnings to owners and occupants of the said structures.
In August 2012, the then Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke had in a letter, advised the FCT, and its then minister, Bala Mohammed, not to demolish houses in Mpape until a case instituted against the Administration at the Federal High Court was dispensed with.
Nine years after, the bulldozers invaded the quarry town, a development the FCTA said was necessitated by calls from residents and landlords who had made passionate appeals to the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello to save them from the traffic gridlock that has made life unbearable in the area.
Chairman, FCT Ministerial Committee on City Sanitation, Ikharo Attah said Mpape Residents and Landlords Association had six months ago begged the Minister to come to their aid as illegal commercial activities had taken over the road corridors.
Attah noted that the sanitation and demolition was long overdue and it was targeted at roadside shanties and other unapproved buildings causing obstruction along the road
He said; “Mpape demolition was requested by the residents and landlords who came to FCTA requesting the Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello to come and clear the road corridors.
“So, what we are doing is in line with the request of the people who want the road corridors to be reclaimed so that there will be ease of movement. As a responsible government, we responded to the cries of the people.
“We gave them enough notice, but many of them were holding on to the erroneous belief that nobody can clear Mpape.
“One of the residents who has lived in Mpape for over 20 years has confessed that people can now breathe in fresh air because of the widened road”.
Also speaking, Secretary, Command and Control FCTA, Peter Olumuji said many of the shanties and the illegal structures demolition were being occupied by criminal elements.
Olumuji noted that over time, reports had shown that criminal activities were on the increase in Mpape, because of so many shanties providing cover for them.
He said, “this part of Mpape harbours the highest number of criminal elements and a lot of criminal activities which the residents have been complaining about.
“What the FCTA is doing here today is to ensure that the mandate of securing the city is carried out”.