The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has carried out its threat to demolish over 135 structures, including residential buildings and entertainment venues, in the Dutse Makaranta area of Abuja.
In a 2022 flood assessment, the FCTA body depicted a bleak picture for residents of the area, which has historically been prone to flooding.
The demolition team was led by Comrade Ikharo Attah, the Senior Special Assistant to the FCT Minister on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement.
He said the government had continued to serve notices to the affected residents, many of whom had evacuated with their possessions but few had remained.
According to him: “We were here on Wednesday and commenced operations. We came back today to remove other structures along the flood plains.
“Like I said earlier, we thank God the rain fell last Sunday afternoon at about 1pm and 2pm when many had left the churches and schools were closed. The water got to the window levels but thank God the people had fled. The casualties here would have been extremely massive. The casualty figure would have been very alarming if the rain had fallen at night.
“Many of the men here told us that most of these areas used to be a football field, but somehow, somebody sold the football field to them to build structures and that is very painful and pathetic.
“We targeted pulling down over 100 buildings and structures but from what we have seen now, having entered inside the street, there could be well over 200 structures that may need to give way.
“From what we did on Wednesday and today, we have so far pulled down over 135 structures with many billed to still go down. The more we go in, the more we see extremely damp structures around the banana plantation. You see houses that are damp up to the roofing level and this is unacceptable. It is not safe and we won’t allow the flood to occur before we take measures”, he stated.
One of the residents of the area who simply identified herself as Ngozi admitted that her drinking spot was located on a flood channel, saying she did not build permanent structures because she had foreseen the action of the government.
“I foresaw this and so, I evacuated my belongings. On behalf of my colleagues and residents here, we are only asking for more time to relocate”, she stated.