FCTA begins a week-long clean up in Kuje

By: Wisdom Acka

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has commenced massive cleanup and demolition of illegal structures in Kuje town, Kuje Area Council, FCT.

The massive clean up, which is part of on-going measures to mitigate proliferation of illegal structures, obstructing human and vehicular movements in the area, is coming after months of sensitisation and abatement notices from relevant authorities and endorsement of Kuje stakeholders.

Officials of the FCTA backed by heavy security team drawn from the military, Police and para-military agencies stormed the area at about 10 AM and cleared road side encroachments from the notorious 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, Ikharo Attah, said the exercise is under the Minister’s directive and under the guidance of police Commissioner, Sunday Babaji and other security heads in the Territory

Attah added that 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.

According to him, 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 because that forest is not supposed to be a market, while we also touch the fruit market,” he said.

“Tomorrow we will be cleaning the rail corridor, the entire rail corridor, and keep it safe,” he added.

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”.

“We marked illegal structure and shanties in Kuje about four months ago. And we have been waiting for long to act,” he stressed.

“The Tipper garage, being a criminal notorious place, we will keep coming, and Kuje is now like Gwarinpa”, the SSA remarked.

Meanwhile, one Charity Onu, a trader, who owns a shop in Kuje market said often than they are forced to bring goods to roadside, because patronage is low, due to the obstructions on the road leading to the market and therefore, commended the action of the FCTA.

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”.