A squatter settlement and makeshift market behind the Old Federal Secretariat, Area 1, Garki, were on Tuesday demolished on the order of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA for constituting security threat to residents in Abuja.
The squatter settlement was occupied by petty traders who carried out micro-trading and petty businesses for a long time.
Chairman of the Ministerial Joint Task Force, and Executive Secretary of the FCDA, Shehu Ahmed, said the demolition was to safeguard some critical ministries and agencies of government located at the old secretariat.
The task force chairman lamented the reign of criminality around the large expanse of land in the area, which he said was originally meant to be a transit corridor for trains and roads.
According to him, the authority has forewarned those doing business there severally without improvement in security concerns.
“We were here one week ago to warn them and asked them to pack. Some of them packed, but those who are stubborn remained, thinking that we are not serious. The Minister has insisted that we can’t have wanton illegalities, gruesome contraventions, and a rape of the Abuja Master Plan in the heart of the city. This exercise will continue for the rest of the week,” he said.
He, however, disclosed that the administration would create a temporary car park and a food court in the interim, as a measure to keep illegal occupants and criminals away from the place.
Meanwhile, Special Assistant to the FCT Minister on Monitoring, Inspection and Evaluation, Attah Ikharo, said the displaced marketers and squatters had earlier been warned about their illegal occupation while describing the victims’ disobedience as “a rape of the Abuja Masterplan”, and that the exercise would continue for the rest of the week.