By Olawale Ajimotokan
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has commenced the demolition of 2,400 shanties in Ruga settlement in Kukwuaba-Wuye District along the corridor of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
Over 1,000 shacks were removed during the exercise carried out yesterday under heavy security presence by the FCT Development and Control department.
The Director of Development and Control department, Muktah Galadima, said the exercise was to checkmate security challenges posed by the threat of Boko Haram as well as kidnapping, and bring orderliness and sanitation to the capital city.
The Chairman, FCT Task Force on Sanitation, Ikharo Attah, said the Ruga was growing too fast and becoming notorious for rape and other crimes.
According to him, “From my own assessment, what will eventually go here will be about 2,400 structures because even as at today (yesterday), the bulldozers were still working. It is really painful, but the displaced persons should understand that the city centre is not for everybody; they should go to the suburbs.”
The Chief Security Officer to the FCT Minister, Ahmed Rashid, said security assessment claimed that 90 per cent of the crimes perpetrated in Wuye and Kukwuaba districts were traced to the shanty settlement, stressing that it was resolved after due diligence from all the security agencies that if the Ruga was removed everybody within this area would be secured.
He also stated that some months ago, some people from the shanty attacked and broke four glass windows of a train on test running on the rail line.
“It’s good for us (FCTA) to remove the shanties to make sure that the railway corridor is safe and the people in Wuye and Kukwuaba districts as well as the city are secure.
‘The director of Development Control Department has also set up a team to do a follow-up cleaning on a daily routine in conjunction with security agencies, so that this kind of illegal settlement will not come up again. This is the best approach for security control of a city like Abuja,” Rashid said.
The Secretary to the Chief of the Ruga Community, Usman Abubakar, conceded they could not question the relevant authorities for demolishing the structures in the settlement.
He, however, pleaded with the government to consider them as Nigerian citizens, and assist them to stop slums from thriving having been living in the settlement for more than 25 years.