The Federal Capital Territory Administration ( FCTA) has removed the popular makeshift market and squatters’ settlement behind the Old Federal Secretariat, Area 1, Garki, Abuja.
The executive secretary of the Federal Capital Territory Development Authority (FCDA), Shehu Ahmed, who led the exercise on Monday, said it was necessitated by the wave of insecurity threatening the peaceful existence of the secretariat’s occupants.
Mr Ahmed, the Ministerial Joint Task Force chairman, said the operation would ensure security around the old secretariat, which still houses critical federal ministries, agencies and people within the environs.
He decried the spate of criminalities that have taken over the large expanse of the land behind the secretariat, originally designed to be road and train transit corridors.
The executive secretary said that in the interim, the administration would create a temporary car park and a food court to keep illegal occupants and criminals away from the place.
Also, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to FCT Minister on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement, Ikharo Attah, said the operation was long overdue, adding that notices have been dispatched to the affected victims.
Mr Attah noted that security reports showed that the removed illegal structures constituted threats to the old federal secretariat, where several ministries are still being accommodated.
According to him, FCT Minister Muhammad Bello has continued to condemn residents’ attitude of not obeying the laws made to guarantee peaceful coexistence in the city.
The SSA said that following ministerial directives, city sanitation would be sustained through aggressive exercises and enforcement of the laws.
Mr Attah warned that the exercise would continue throughout the week, while he assured that the task force would continue to respect human rights in all its operations.
“We were here one week ago to warn them and asked them to pack, some of them have packed, but those who are stubborn remained, thinking that we are not serious.
“The minister has insisted that we can’t have wanton illegalities, gruesome contravention and rape of Abuja’s Master plan in the heart of the city. This exercise will continue for the rest of the week,’’ he said.
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