There was palpable pandemonium Wednesday when FCTA bulldozers rolled into Mpape community, removing at least 2,000 roadside shanties, containers and other illegal structures said to be obstructing traffic.
This came after over three months of notices and warnings. The angry bulldozers invaded the community as early as 10 am, pulling down all illegal structures along the road corridors.
Mpape community has survived several demolitions since 2004, after slums like Idu- Karimo and other squatter settlements were dislodged in Abuja.
This time, the Federal Capital Territory Administration said the demolition, coming as a thorough sanitation, was requested by residents and landlords who had made passionate appeals to the Minister, 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 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.
“Mpape demolition is 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 basking in the euphoria that nobody can clear Mpape.
“One of the residents that have lived in Mpape for over 20 years has confessed that people can now breathe in fresh road, because of the widened road “.
Also speaking, Peter Olumuji, from the Department of Security Services, said many of the shanties and the illegal structures demolished were being occupied by criminal elements.
Olumuji noted that over time, reports have shown that criminal activities were on the increase in Mpape, because of so many shanties providing covers for them.