The nation’s capital city’s Kuje town is currently undergoing a large clean-up and demolition of illegal structures by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).
After months of public education campaigns, abatement notices from the relevant authorities, and support from Kuje stakeholders, the exercise which was a part of ongoing efforts to reduce the growth of illegal structures that are allegedly obstructing the movement of vehicles and pedestrians in the area took place.
Around 10 AM, FCTA leaders rushed the area backed by a sizable security team made up of members of the military, police, and paramilitary organizations to clear roadside encroachments from the famed tipper garage to the Kuje main market.
During the clean-up exercise, which lasted for about seven hours, hundreds of structures ranging from kiosks, containers, attachments to stores and worship centres, shanties and sign posts encroaching on the road corridors.
It was however observed that some encroached areas were cleared by the owners and occupants before the enforcement team arrived for the actual removal.
Speaking with newsmen, Senior Special Assistant to FCT Minister on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement, Comrade Ikharo Attah hinted the exercise is under the Minister’s directive and under the guidance of police Commissioner, Sunday Babaji and other security heads in the Territory
According to Attah, the Minister has not been comfortable with the nature of Kuje, as the extreme contraventions in multiple places in Kuje, makes the area very unsafe, illegal settlements, due to the extreme road encroachment, road side trading, encroachment of rail corridors, and other contraventions in Kuje.
“The clean-up would be a week long exercise, as Kuje has been very worrisome in some areas of insecurity.
“Today, we have been able to address the issue of road side encroachment from tipper garage to the main market, we couldn’t enter the forest, but we told them to park that forest is not supposed to be a market while we also touched the fruit market.
” Tomorrow we will be claiming the rail corridor, the entire rail corridor, and keep it safe and children can use it for recreation.
“We marked Kuje about four months ago. And we have been waiting for long, so the word of caution is what they have seen today”.
Speaking on the encroachment of the railway, the SSA explains: “Kuje chiefs and indigenes have denied selling the rail corridor to anyone and we have asked them who sold to them, they can’t say. So we have been directed by the Minister to reclaim the rail corridor.
“The Tipper garage, being a notorious place, we will keep coming, and Kuje is now like Gwarinpa”
Charity Onu, one of the traders, who owns a shop in Kuje market said often than they are forced to bring goods to roadside, patronage is low, due to the obstructions on the road leading to the market.
According her: “Clearing of the road is very good as it will pave a way for people to come inside, but I will like to appeal to the government to give the dislodged roadside traders new place, where they can do their business”.