By Blessing Onyeaka
Some residents of Arab road, Kubwa, Abuja on Friday expressed grief over the loss of their property following the demolition of illegal shops by the Development Control of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA).
Some shop owners in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), while counting their losses, said that the Thursday demolition exercise caught them unaware.
The shop owners, who said that they lost property worth millions of naira to the exercise, said that hoodlums had a field day on them as they carted away their goods.
One of the shop owners, Mr Charles Okpe, whose beer parlour was demolished, said that the hoodlums brandished dangerous weapons as they looted his shop.
“These hoodlums carried my deep freezer, generator, plasma television, iron doors, chairs and my drinks. They came with daggers and machetes and were ready to stab anyone, who tried to stop them.
“We called the police and they came to calm the situation but they spent about ten minutes and left, after which the hoodlums continued with their operations,” he said.
A laundryman, Mr Abdul Nuhu, who complained that he was not given prior notice before his shop was demolished, said that the hoodlums seized the opportunity to steal his belongings.
“These people did not inform us. They just came and demolished our shops.
“While we were still complaining about our shops that were demolished, some hoodlums attacked us with daggers and other weapons and made away with our property.
“They carried my washing machine, pressing iron and plastic buckets. They also carried my demolished container,” he lamented.
Madam Grace Abimbola, a seamstress, whose shop was also demolished, said that the hoodlums detached the roof of her shop and made away with her sewing machine.
“I’m in pains. These ‘maibola people’ removed the roof of my shop and carried my sewing machine. We lost a lot of money. I don’t even know where to start from,” she said.
“They did not notify us. They only gave notice to people across the street last year but for us whose shops were located close to a high tension, we were not notify.
“There is high tension close to our shops, hence it a ‘no man’s land’. We were surprised they came and demolished all the structures, both ours and those across the street without notice,” she added.
Mr Kenneth Umor, another victim, said that such an incident could make young people go into social vices as it was disheartening to watch one’s sweat go down the drain.
“I suffered to set up my provision store but now, I’ve lost everything without notice.
“The government is really frustrating us. There is no job and they are not looking out for our welfare. Yet when we try to make a decent living, they frustrate our efforts.
“This incident alone can lead people to armed robbery and kidnapping. They should have given us prior notice to enable us to make alternative arrangements,” he cried.
A source from the FCDA told NAN that contrary to the claims of the shop owners, the shops were demolished because they do not have approval.
The source also said that that some of them were built under high tension, therefore contravening the city’s building plan.
NAN reports that the FCT Police Command had, however, ordered an investigation into the alleged looting, according to a statement by the command. (NAN)