More than 400 illegal structures in Gwarinpa, Abuja, have been demolished by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).
The Development Control team and the FCT Tasks team on City Sanitation stormed the area and demolished over 400 illegal structures that had been illegally converted from corner shops to residential buildings, as well as others that were blocking the waterway.
Tlp. Murkhtar Galadima, Director of Development Control, who spoke to journalists at the event, bemoaned the area’s poor hygiene and sanitation, claiming that waste is being dumped directly into the stream, which is a ticking time bomb.
According to him, “This place you are seeing are not suppose to be houses, they were actually corner shops but people have converted them to residential abode. We have over 400 shops that were converted to residential buildings.
“We are working with Federal Housing Authority, we had some discussions with them on how to convert it into a modern mall but for now the thing that is called corner shops is not being used for that particular purpose, it being used as residential buildings. And when you look at the number of people staying here, the hygiene and sanitation is zero so for safety reasons it is better to remove them”.
While speaking on notice of demolition, he said they were given 1 month notice, “We gave them over a month notice, I remember we came here for sensitization and we marked it. When you go round you see the markings on the wall”.
He decried the fact that people built on water ways, “What we are trying to do is to recover the flood plain within Gwarinpa, People built on water way. The area is not properly planned because they are just discharging their waste directly to the stream. And this could be a source of epidemic, so it is a time bomb waiting to happen. If we don’t take action immediately the consequences is unimaginable.
“Definitely I will advice them not to interfere with water channels and to also tell others that guilty that we are coming for them”.
Meanwhile, the Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring Inspection and Enforcement to the minister of FCT, Comrade Ikahro Attah, said he was shocked at the level of illegality in that area,
“I am very surprised at the level of illegality here, thanks to Development Control who spotted this illegality here. People decided to build on water way,constructing on stream making this area Gwarinpa prone to flooding.
“They even pushed the stream to a point that if there is an heavy rain,there will be massive flooding and this is a disaster waiting to happen. Very sad here, the FCTA through Federal Capital Territory, Emergency Management Agency, FEMA and other components agencies had given warning , the Federal Government had given warning through the water resources, NIMET also warned against an impending flooding. But people decided to build on the flood plain and they are arguing about 15 meters but they built zero meters some are on minus 3 meters and thereby constricting the water way so when disaster struck, they will say Government is not serious. And that is why we are removing all of them by the water corridor”.
On number of house that would be removed, he said, the work is still ongoing but all houses on the water plain are going, “We are counting them, we don’t know the number yet. The Development Control are really showing commitment to save lives, so that flooding would not happen in Gwarinpa.
“The FCTA is really committed to ensure lives are not lost as a result of flooding”.
He , however,lamented that, “Not even one soak away in the whole community, once they defecates, urinate everything comes straight to the stream, they cannot dig soak away because it is a water bed. Once anyone defecates in his house it comes to the stream and that is an epidemic a disaster that is waiting to happen. We are also trying to prevent flooding so that when rain comes, it will have a wilder flood plain to pass through”.