By Kabir Muhammad
The FCT Department of Development Control on Friday demolished the Mountain Village in Guzape District in Abuja.
The settlement which is at the city centre is situated behind Dantata Construction Company main Yard and besides the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Headquarters on a mountain.
Muktar Galadima, Acting Director in the agency told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the demolition was in the best interest of the illegal settlers.
He said that the inhabitants of the settlement were notified severally before the demolition.
“If I can recall vividly since Nov. 2016 we visited these community, we sensitised them, we marked their structures, even two weeks ago we came back to sensitise them that we are coming.
“We told them to remove their valuables because the current administration emphasizes that people must be carried along in whatever activities we are doing.
“We gave them enough time since Nov. 2016. We have the records and the pictures; so its wrong to say that they were not aware,’’ he said.
Galadima noted that there were 135 structures in the area, adding that the department would continue to maintain the city’s Masterplan.
“Fundamentally, there are two or more reasons why we have to embark on these exercise. One for the safety of the people here and two for the security.
“For their safety, we have to play a role and for security reason which is a national issue we have to play a role and that is what we are doing,’’ he added.
He advised people that there are a lot of settlements which can take care of them like Kubwa, Kuje, Bwari and many more.
“Yes, we agreed that there are difficulties, there are painful situations but this kind of place is not a place for them to live.
“Many of us are living in places like Kubwa and others; we just come to town to work.
“There are enough places that can take care of every Nigerian in Abuja, FCT,’’ he added.
Galadima said but for those who insist that “they want to live in the corridor of the Capital City is not just possible, let us go to where our resources can afford.’’
Speaking, Mr Thomas Abel, a landlord at the settlement said the department notified them of the demolition since 2016.
“They gave us three or two months, after the two months they came yesterday and started demolishing the area,” he said.
A lady, who does not want her name mentioned said the people were not given enough time nor was there enough awareness before the demolition commenced.
“They just came and pulled the houses down. No matter how illegal it is, one still have the right to be informed,’’ she said.