Stories by Stanley Onyekwere
Barely 24 hours into the operations of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Special Enforcement Task Team on city cleaning and management, it suffered a setback a major setback, as indigenes and residents of Durumi village yesterday, staged a protest against what they described as ‘high headedness of the Task Team leader’.
They equally demanded an unreserved apology from FCT Police Commissioner, Mbu Joseph Mbu, for invading their community without notification, even as they vowed that the Task Team will not succeed until some knotty issues such as compensation and resettlement are addressed.
Peoples Daily had reported that the officials of the Mbu-led task force had on Monday embarked on an intensive clamp down on vagrants, hawkers as well as operators of commercial motorcycles, tricycles and other illegal activities including unlawful development of structures in the FCT.
However, Barrister Ephraim Ushafa, who spoke on behalf of the group, alleged that the attitude of FCT Administration towards the affairs of the original inhabitants is appalling, stressing that the Task Team came to the village with the aim to pull down some existing structures without notification.
“The government does not have common regard for the indigenes of the territory. Few days ago, we read in the papers that the FCT Minister has set a committee to clean up the city. We are not against the committee.
“They can do whatever they what to do, but is wrong for the leader of the committee who is the commissioner of police to arbitrarily pull down people’s home without notice. We should be properly informed of government intention on programme that affects us.
“Even our local chief is not aware of the planned demolition. We want to sound a note of warning to the committee that until the issue of compensation and resettlement is addressed, nothing will be achieved in Durumi community” he threatened.
Speaking in the same vein, the Secretary of the Original Inhabitant Development Association (OIDA), Comrade Yusuf Ahmadu Yunusa, said the attitude of the Task Team towards the original inhabitants deserved an apology from the leader of the team, adding that despite genuine intention of government in the development of the territory, the indigenes are not carried along.
According to him, “I was surprised when the PRO of Development Control came to verbally announced to residents that the area will be pulled down by the Task Team without consulting even our chief.
“We are not happy with the development of event. We are not equally comfortable with the high headedness demonstrated by the Commissioner of Police in this matter. His officers brutalized some residents and tricycle operators. For how long will they continue to treat the original inhabitants as animals?” he queried.
Also, the chief of Durumi, Alhaji Danjuma Tanko Anyidabubo, who condemned the manner in which the Task Team carried out its operation, said his people are not aware of the clean Abuja initiative.
It would be recalled that the FCT Administration outlined the Task Team’s terms of reference which include among others identifying all flash points for street hawking/begging, commercial sex workers and other untoward activities in Abuja metropolis for effective pin-down operations.
Others are removing all shanties and illegal/unplanned developments in the Abuja City Centre; removal of illegal car marts from unauthorized locations in the FCT; carrying out sting operations in hideouts
occupied by suspected criminal elements with a view to forestalling nefarious activities in the Territory; putting in place necessary strategies to reduce gridlocks and ease traffic flow in the metropolis and mounting massive enlightenment campaign in the print and electronic media on the need for residents to comply with City Management Laws.