By Ben Adoga, Abuja
The officials of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) on Wednesday stormed a forest suspected to be harbouring bandits and other dangerous criminals in the Pasali community on Kuje – Gwagwalada road.
The FCT authorities in the process reclaimed the area earmarked for the vegetable market in that area.
This is coming as the ongoing demolition exercise in Kuje enters day three.
Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement to the minister of FCT, Ikharo Attah after the exercise, said the demolition of Pasali forest near Kuje Local Education Authority Secretariat was to clear the area of illegalities and restore the approved plan.
“We have reclaimed the vegetable table market and others which have been taken over by other people.
“The minister of FCT and the commissioner of police are fully aware of the exercise, and we will continue to reclaim the areas designated for special purposes”
However, those affected by the ongoing demolition of the illegal structures behind prison command on the railway corridor accused the traditional rulers of selling them the land they built on.
According to them, as traditional rulers, they are not supposed to allow them to buy and build on the Kuje railway corridor, and in some areas alleged to be illegal.
The affected persons blamed the monarchs for not doing enough to protect their interests but rather inflicting pain on them.
One of the victims, Briget Ekelechukwu, Divine Choose Spiritual Ministry Less Privileged, said: “We have been here for over 12 years. I knew that this area is a railway corridor but I was deceived by the monarchs and their people that the railway is not coming.
“I have never been to Kuje, no surveyor measured this land for me. But after we started staying here, the first people that came to meet me were Gomo’s family, I told them I do not know them.
“I discovered it was a railway corridor about 5 years ago. I have about 19 children, I registered with the Ministry but I haven’t completed the registration for the orphanage. My registration with Social Development Secretariat is there”
Another victim, Benedict Chidozie regretted that “how comes people will come and build without the consent of the traditional ruler or his family members? They are the cause of our problem”
However, the secretary to Gomo of Kuje, Alhaji Mohammed Usman denied the allegation and described it as false.
He said: “What the people are saying is false, let them bring the agreement that His Royal Highness sold land to them. Anybody accusing Gomo, should bring prove. We have nothing to hide,” he said.
For David Musa, the demolition would bring about sanity in the area, “I want to commend the government for clearing of Kuje, this place (Pasali, close to LEA secretariat) has been a criminal hideout because of the trees and other things. As this place is cleared the problem of insecurity in Kuje has been reduced.
“Suspected bandits come here to relax during the day and strike at the night. Like yesterday about 15 people were kidnapped along Kwaku area in Kuje, by clearing some of these places is a good thing” he alleged.