There was confusion and anxiety in Abuja on Friday as the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) Ministerial Task Team on Enforcement of COVID-19 guidelines stormed Karu, a satellite town of the capital city and demolished some illegal structures, including drinking joints.
No fewer than fifty-four makeshift structures were removed.
Other structures demolished by the officials included containers being used by petty traders as shops and all the kiosks in a small market located in Karu site.
According to the building plan, all the extensions made in front of shops that served as drinking joints were also demolished.
Officials of the Development Control Department and Covid-19 Enforcement team in collaboration with other relevant agencies under the FCTA, stormed the area with bulldozer and carried out the exercise.
Assisted by armed men, the officials demolished the fence of Paris Lounge and also demolished a container at Cool Leo.
Both places are popular drinking joints in the area.
All the extensions in front of about four drinking joints on a street near the old NEPA office in Karu site were all demolished.
Some traders were seen struggling to salvage the little they could from their belongings trapped under the debris of the demolished buildings.
Others who saw the officials approaching were also seen struggling to remove valuables from containers before they will demolish them.
The traders were still counting their losses as of the time of filing this report.
A trader who spoke with our correspondent lamented that: “Where do I start from? All my wares were trapped in the demolished container. This is inhuman.
“This is beyond enforcing COVID-19 protocols. I am aware that some residents of this area have been complaining about the residential buildings being turned into drinking joints in this area.
“I have a strong belief that the demolition is not about Coronavirus alone”.
Speaking after the exercise, Acting Director, Development Control, Garba Kwamkur said they got a marching order from the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello to get the city rid of miscreants, unapproved developments and make the city habitable for all well meaning citizens.
Kwamkur said: “We are removing all infractions and unapproved developments within the city road corridors.
“Right now we are going around satellite towns, and we are starting with Karu Site and Jikwoyi.
“It is a continuous exercise, we are going even up to Abaji that we have not being going there for sometime. We are ready for all the satellite towns within the city.”
The Head, Media and Enlightenment of the task force, Comrade Ikharo Attah, said the demolition exercise was meant to sanitise Karu.
Attah expressed optimism the exercise will deter those who may want to violate the protocols and abuse the landuse.
His words: “What we did in Karu was joint effort with the Covid-19 Enforcement team. We saw several violations of the protocols, which we reported to the development control, and officials moved in with their bulldozer and removed contravening structures in the area.
“Not less than 54 shanties were removed in Karu Site alone that tells you how bad it is here. We from the the Covid-19 team enjoyed this very much, as we hope that this will deter others from doing so.”