ABUJA – Agencies and departments in the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) on Tuesday embarked on a clean-up of illegally occupied spaces in the Nyanya axis of the territory.
The exercise, done in conjunction with the police, military and other law enforcement agencies, saw the removal of illegal structures within Kugbo and Nyanya areas.
The agencies involved in the clean-up were the Abuja Metropolitan Management Company (AMMC), Department of Development Control, Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), and the Parks and Recreation Department of FCTA.
Mr Reuben Okoya, the Coordinator of AMMC, said that the exercise was partly informed by the recent bomb explosion in the area.
“We have been engaged in exercises like this in the past; the difference is that we are being more diligent now because of the recent security challenges in this axis.
“After the recent bomb explosions, the minister came here and ordered that the entire Nyanya corridor should be cleaned up.
“You will agree with me that an open area can be more easily policed than an area which is clustered with slums and shanties.’’
Okoya said that the exercise would be sustained and gave and assurance that the legal occupants in the area would not be affected.
“These activities will last for three days and will take us from AYA roundabout to Mararaba, and by the time we finish, the entire corridor would have been cleaned up.
“We are not displacing any legal occupant, but anybody who illegally occupies an area should not talk about compensation,’’ he said.
Also speaking, Malam Yahaya Yusuf, the Director of the Department of Development Control, said that the clean-up was a major responsibility of the agencies involved in the exercise.
He said that the department particularly frowned at residents who converted their premises to inappropriate uses, adding that contravention fees would be introduced, to stop the practice.
“We have a mandate to clean up the city and the FCT Minister recently gave us marching orders to invigorate the clean-up exercise in areas where there are shanties.
“The FCT administration is serious about stopping the idea of residents converting their premises to uses that are not approved.
“This has informed the introduction of contravention fees for such structures to remain, while new contraventions would be immediately reverted.
“This particularly affects the hospitality industry where some residential buildings are converted to hotels and we have commenced sensitisation in that sector,’’ the director said.
In her remarks, Mrs Aishat Adebayo, the Acting Director of AEPB, solicited the cooperation of residents in the exercise, stating that it was in the overall interest of residents.
“Clean-ups are routine steps to ensure that the sanitation of the city is maintained, and with current the security challenges in Abuja, there is the need for us to be more diligent.
“This will assist the security agencies to easily discharge their responsibilities.
“The exercise will cover the entire territory of Abuja and we have already covered areas in Airport Road and Kubwa .
“Any area that is recovered, the Department of Parks and Recreation will maintain it so that residents would not have the opportunity to encroach again.
“We also appeal to residents to cooperate with us because this exercise is for their own good.
“The incidents that occurred in Nyanya are still fresh in our memories and we all need to be our brother’s keepers,’’ she said. (NAN)