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Soldiers attack FCTA officials demolishing illegal structures

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By Ben Adoga

There was chaos in Jikwoyi area of the FCT when unidentified Nigerian soldiers attacked the enforcement team of the FCT Development Control Department, during the removal of an illegal perimeter fence.

Our correspondent gathered that two unidentified soldiers, in army green uniform, stormed the area and confronted the FCTA enforcement team, just minutes its bulldozer crushed the perimeter fence at the site, having two military big signposts with ” Military Zone, keep off” inscription on them, strategically placed on the both ends of the property.

Also, the incident which occurred last Friday, caused panic as some officials took to their heels while onlookers scampered for safety, as the security operatives that accompanied the FCT officials fired gunshots and teargas into the air.

A police woman attached to the enforcement team was injured in the confrontation. Narrating his ordeal, assistant director, in charge of the Area Councils in the Federal Capital City (FCC), Olatunji Oyewale Oyindola, said when they got there for the removal exercise, and as their men who moved to site almost concluded the task, that suddenly, some soldiers came and started harassing them.

He revealed, prior to the incident, the department had served several notices to the extent that it collected the document of the two parties involved in a dispute over the land, and forwarded them to department of lands for confirmation.

He disclosed that the first abatement notice was served when the development was in early stage of the perimeter fence, which was more than five months ago.

“We moved to site, so that the development will not reach sympathy level, before we remove it. So, this developer ignored all the notices we served prior to the exercise. All the notices served are in our records. And in the process, they wounded one of the police officers, who I had to take to the hospital for treatment, while another lost his mobile phone. At the site, they even positioned two military signposts with ” Military Zone, keep off” illegally on the land.

“However, even though it’s Army, they are law abiding people, because I think that’s what they are supposed to be. We thank God Almighty that the situation didn’t involve any loss of life. We did our work and returned back to our office,” he stated.

Reacting to the attack, acting director, Development Control Department, Garba Kwamkur, called on the military high command to investigate matter and bring whoever the culprits are to book.

Kwamkur cautioned that the FCT Administration will tolerate any act of criminality, even as it tries to encourage the development of the FCT, in line with the highest standards that have been prescribed in the blueprint for the development of the city. “I condemn the action of whoever that’s doing this under the cover of the military. The military is a very professional and law-abiding organisation. So, it’s bad for somebody to hide under guise of being a military man and attack law-abiding enforcement team, like the FCT Development Control. We don’t just move to any site for enforcement, we have master plan that guides us.

“Whether public or private organisations, by law you are supposed to have a building permit before you move to site. So, citizens are advised to have necessary documents and approach development control before moving to site, but without doing this that would be an illegal development,” the director stressed.

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