Villagers, hoodlums prevent FCTA from removing buildings under high tension

Villagers, hoodlums prevent FCTA from removing buildings under high tension

Some villagers and hoodlums at Magaji PE Community, under Jabi District in Abuja, on Sunday prevented officials of the FCT Administration’s Department of Development Control from removing illegal buildings under high tension wires in the area.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the villagers on Sunday comprised young men, women and the old.

They turned out in large numbers and angrily vowed that if officials of the FCT insist on going ahead to remove the buildings, they will stone them.

Sensing that trouble and tension are already heightening in the area, the officials, along with their few security men, tactically withdrew from the area in order to avoid a total breakdown of law and order.

Reacting to the development, the Director of the Department, Mukhtar Galadima, described the situation as very unfortunate and completely unacceptable by the FCT Administration.

He explained that the Department earlier issued vacation notices to those occupying illegal structures built under high tension wires in Magaji PE Community.

Galadima stated that by the rules and regulations of Urban and Regional Planning and Abuja Master Plan, the Department would not allow any building under high tension wires, noting that the whole essence of government is to protect lives and properties.

He said: “What happened here today is really unfortunate.

“We decided to tactically withdraw to avoid causing more chaos and crisis.

“So the best thing for us was to withdraw from the exercise, pending when tension is down and then we will be adequately prepared to go back and do what is necessary.

“The operation is part of our weekend programme of activities, where we sanitise the city, particularly where we believe there are issues of security challenges or issues of hygiene and other aspects of urbanisation, so we try to move in.

“We have done that at Apo, some part of resettlement centre B and other parts of the city.

“Even last week, we came here and started the operation, but because time was against us, we moved out and decided to return today.”

The Director stated that the Department, in all of this, is making efforts to save lives and protect properties of citizens.

Galadima added: “One fundamental issue that people should know is that it is not because we are high handed, rather we are trying to save lives and protect properties because right over the village is high tension cable.

“And there are some buildings under the high tension which we are trying to remove.

“But unfortunately, the occupants of the houses, both indigenes and non indigenes, mobilised and tried to challenge the authority, but what needs to be done must be done.

“The essence of government is to protect lives and properties and by our rules and regulations, we are not to allow any building under high tension cables.”

Galadima revealed that when next the Department would go back to remove the buildings, it would make adequate security and logistics arrangements.

He said: “We earlier issued vacation notices to them and we even called the Head of the village for a meeting so that we can engage them and tell them why we are doing the operation.

“We are not going to remove the indigenous community.

“What we are removing are the buildings under the high tension and trees that are becoming hideout for criminals in the area.”