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Pandemonium as FCT demolishes 2,000 illegal structures

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Aerial view of Abuja, Federal Capital Territory.

There was pandemonium yesterday in Mpape and other parts of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, following massive demolition of what authorities called illegal structures around the territory.
 
The demolition followed threats by the Minister of FCT, Muhammed Musa Bello to do so. On Wednesday morning, he rolled out bulldozers into the town.
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About 2,000 roadside shanties, containers, and illegal structures, which the FCT Administration said were obstructing traffic flows, were pulled down.
  
The residents, particularly those whose property was affected, ran helter-skelter in a bid to recover whatever they could.
 
However, FCTA said it had given notices to owners of those structures over three months ago.
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Mpape community has survived several demolitions since 2004 after slums like Idu-Karimo and other squatter settlements were demolished in Abuja.
 
Meanwhile, FCTA said the demolition was requested by residents and landlords who had made passionate appeals to the minister to save them from the traffic gridlock that had made life unbearable in the area.
 
Chairman, FCT Ministerial Committee on City Sanitation, Ikharo Attah, said Mpape Residents and Landlords Association, six months ago, urged the minister to come to their aid, as illegal commercial activities had taken over the road corridors.
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He noted that the sanitation and demolition were long overdue, adding that it was targeted at roadside shanties and other unapproved buildings causing obstruction along the road. 
  
He said: “We gave them enough notice, but many of them were basking in the euphoria that nobody can clear Mpape.
 
“A resident, who has lived in Mpape for 20 years, said people can now breathe in the fresh air, because of the widened road.”
 
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Also an official of the Department of Security Services (DSS), Peter Olumuji, said many of the demolished shanties and illegal structures were being occupied by criminal elements.
 
He noted that reports had shown that criminal activities were on the increase in Mpape because so many shanties were providing cover for them.
  
Recall that Iddo, a community along the Airport Road, was also demolished last week.

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