Chris Garden, a popular brothel, was the first structure to be leveled on Wednesday when bulldozers sent by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCDA) arrived Dakibiu, a suburb of Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported how residents of the informal settlement tucked inside Jabi district of the capital city were thrown into a panic by the planned demolition of the community.
As early as 9 a.m., the serene streets of Dakibiu were flooded with people, including residents who were trying to cart away their properties, the police, officials of the FCDA and scores of journalists.
When the bulldozers finally arrived before noon, the first stop was Chris Garden, situated at the north end of Dakibiu.
Some commercial sex workers were still packing their belongings when the exercise started. Within 15 minutes, the structure holding about 36 rooms was demolished.
Some of the sex workers watched in agony as their former abode was pulled down.
One of the sex workers, Kate, told our reporter that they were not given enough time to evacuate.
“This is unfair, at least they should have given as at least two weeks to pack out and find another place to stay,” she said.
When the bulldozer was done with the structure, scavengers started prowling the debris for valuables. They could be seen dragging rods and some other building materials.
The owner was not around for an interview. To the relief of many residents, the bulldozers stopped at just pulling down Chris Garden.
A slight rain also disrupted the day’s activity. It is not clear whether the bulldozers will return tomorrow for structures already marked for destruction.
The phone numbers of Muktar Galadimawa, the developmental director of the FCDA, were still switched off Wednesday evening.
Attempts to speak with some FCTA officials at the scene of the demolition were unsuccessful as they claimed that they were not authorised to speak on the incident.
Dakibiu is considered an illegal settlement by the authorities in Abuja. It is being occupied by both Gwagi indigenes and other Nigerians.
There have been ongoing demolition exercises in some parts of the city marked by the government as holding illegal structures within the Abuja metropolis.
Demolitions occurred in some parts of Utako village in the past week.