Abuja demolition turns bloody - OLAMORE
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Abuja demolition turns bloody

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As the Federal Capital Territory continues its demolition of shanties and buildings on encroachments, personnel of the taskforce saddled with the responsibility have continued to face stiff resistance and violence, sometimes bloody.

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Such was the incident last Thursday, at the Gaduwa District of Abuja Municipal Area Council, when miscreants attacked members of the taskforce, injuring several of them in the process and holding others hostage for several hours.

The hoodlums, while trying to resist the markings of illegal structures for demolition by officers of the Development Control attached to the taskforce, held some members of the team hostage and injured several others including a police officer.

While the injured police officer and some of attackers were rushed to hospitals, the officials taken hostage were later released, following a rapid response from the FCT Police Command, led by Deputy Commissioner of Police for Operations, Bernard Igwe.

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Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement to FCT Minister, Ikharo Attah, who confirmed the incident, said some officials of the Development Control attached to the taskforce, who went to Gaduwa community to mark for demolition some illegal houses springing up in the community, but were strongly resisted and attacked by some people with dangerous weapons.

While he commended some indigenous youths, who helped in calming the situation and worked towards the release of the hostages, he also noted that but for the quick intervention of the re-enforced rescue team, the situation could have been more devastating.

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“I was sent somewhere by the minister but before I could I arrive the scene, the police officer, who was badly injured on the head, and others had been rushed to hospital.

“Those who were held hostage were rescued by a team led by DC Bernard Igwe. The area where the indigenous people stay was not marked. The police will determine what happens to those who were arrested.”

One of the officials that was held hostage and leader of the Development Control officials, Kalu Amadi, said the experience was horrifying and may take some time for him to overcome the trauma.

Amadi, who was allegedly striped half naked, explained that the attackers refused to hear that he was on an official duty.

The latest attack is the third of such attacks on FCTA officials on demolition duties. Recall that The Abuja Inquirer had in August 2021 reported that hoodlums attacked the task team in Gwarinpa, injuring a military officer in the process.

The victim, an officer of the Nigerian Army, was beaten and injured by angry residents who were protesting the return of the team to enforce urban and regional environmental laws in illegal markets that were removed earlier.

Attah, said the mob on sighting the taskforce team, descended heavily on the team with stones, chanting “kill and go, kill and go “, while throwing stones.

A similar exercise in Mpape community also turned chaotic in August, when miscreants took advantage of the confusion and went about snatching women’s hand bags and cell phones.

The hoodlums were, however, immediately dispersed by the combined team of security personnel, paving way for motorists and other passersby to ply the road freely.

However, to check the incessant attacks, the chairman, FCT Ministerial Committee on City Sanitation, Ikharo Attah, met with commanders of different security agencies and heads of other organizational component of both the Joint Taskforce and the Command and Control Secretariat to review enforcement strategies.

Attah said the meeting had become necessary in view of the need to scale up enforcement of laws and rules of engagement, while handling city clean-up and other lawless acts in the city.

Attah, while conveying the commendation of the minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, to the team over their efforts and commitment to duty, also reminded them that ministerial directives that human rights be protected during enforcement remains non-negotiable.

According to him, the minister wants security and order maintained in all parts of the territory, but does not want the rights of law-abiding residents trampled upon.

In his remarks, the commander of security agencies under the Command and Control Unit, CSP Yusuf Bala, pledged the support of all the officers under his control to the reviewed operational strategies.

Also, the commander of the taskforce, Solomon Adebayo, who noted that the enforcement operations in the city have been challenging, also appealed to all relevant authorities to improve on the welfare of officers.

Adebayo added that officers’ confidence can be boosted when their welfare is upper most in government’s planning agenda.

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