Weeks after a train on a test-run was reportedly attacked with stones close to Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory Administration FCTA has commenced the demolition of about 2, 400 shanties in Kukwuaba-Wuye District along the railway corridor leading to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Director, Department of Development Control, Mukhtar Galadima who coordinated the exercise which saw the removal of over 1, 000 shacks said it was to checkmate security challenges posed by threats of Boko Haram and bandits.
On his part, Chairman, FCT Task Force on Sanitation, Ikharo Attah, said the Ruga settlement which had continued to bust at its seam had become notorious for rape and other crimes.
“From my own assessment, what will eventually go here will be about 2, 400 structures because even as of today, the bulldozers are 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,” Attah said.
Chief Security Officer to the FCT Minister, Ahmed Rashid, explained that a recent security assessment showed that 90 per cent of the crimes perpetrated in Wuye and Kukwuaba districts were traced to the shanty settlement.
He said after due diligence by security agencies, it was resolved that if the Ruga was removed, the security situation in the area would greatly improve.
Rashid said few months ago, some people from the shanty attacked and broke four window glasses of a train which was on a test-run on the rail corridor.
“It is good for us (FCTA) to remove the shanties to make sure that the railway corridor is safe and people in Wuye and Kukwuaba Districts and the whole city at large.
“The Director, Development Control Department has set up a team to do a follow-up cleaning, 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 added.
Reacting to the development, Secretary to the Chief of Ruga Community, Usman Abubakar, said while the people cannot fault the action of government, it would be great to have the administration consider them as Nigerian citizens as they had lived in the settlement for more than 25 years.
“We will be satisfied if the government can give us a small land in this Abuja, so that we will occupy and settle down, considering that our children especially youth and our women are living here, but now, many of us have nowhere to go from here.
“We are pleading with the government to consider helping us because the incident has affected at least five hundred households,” Abubakar pleaded.