The fear of bulldozers is not just the beginning of wisdom, but the ” rod of correction” in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The bulldozer restores sanity to the minds of both the poor and the rich, who violate extant laws, while struggling to get a fair share of landed property.
Inside Abuja followed the bulldozer over the weekend, when it rolled into the elite’s zone to save a situation that would have caused a colossal loss of lives, if the action was not taken.
This time around, the bulldozer moved into Gwarrimpa Estate, a sprawling urban settlement reputed to be one of the largest housing estates in Africa.
A multiple storey complex under construction was said to had failed integrity test of both the Department of Development Control, and that of the Inspectorate of Council for the Regulation of Engineers in Nigeria ( COREN).
According to Mukhtar Galadima, the Director, Department of Development Control, the agency, who led the operations, the agency was alerted about the structure that had partially collapsed, and upon conducting further checks, the building that was at the second floor level failed integrity test, and therefore cannot be allowed to stand.
Inside Abuja gathered that the owner of the building and those in charge of the project, who did not show up throughout the demolition exercise, failed to obey several orders that were issued them on site by relevant agencies, right from the foundation stage.
Galadima said: ” There was a reported case of partial collapse. So, when we saw the news, we sent our men to come and investigate. When they came, they made observations, particularly on the material used, which are low quality materials.
“Based on that investigation, we came down with the management of the agency. We saw the structures and the materials, and in conjunction with COREN , we concluded that the building cannot stand the test of time. So, we decided to come and remove the structure. Allowing it to stand in this rainy season is very disastrous.”
On why the ‘substandard’ construction work was allowed to progress to the stage at which it was pulled down, the Director explained that, ” this estate is managed by the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing. We got to know that the estate is in the process of urban renewal and that is why these types of structures were allowed here. We also gathered that the owner of the building has not submitted any building drawings.
“We confirmed that relevant agencies had made several attempts to stop the project, but the owner and the managers of the site refused to stop. We immediately queried them, why the development control was not contacted to clear it from the beginning. Their reply was that a memo to that effect was prepared, but could not get to us.”
Inside Abuja also learnt from COREN Inspector, Engr. Yakubu Garba, who monitored the demolition exercise of the ill-fated building, that there was doubt that those involved in the construction cannot be traced by any professional body.
Garba confirmed that if after investigation by COREN, any of its registered members is found to be involved in the ‘substandard’ building that would have collapsed completely, if it was allowed, such member shall be sanctioned appropriately.
With the passing of bucks over the building, a further step was taken by our correspondent to get the reactions of the Federal Housing Authority, an agency under the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, but the Spokesperson did not pick up his calls nor responded to the text message sent to him.
The narrative that the nation’s capital is an organised city with a master plan, which determines its developmental standards and agenda is considered by many as mere rhetoric.
These categories of people have always had occasions to bite their fingers in regrets, because the bulldozers do not discriminate between the poor and the rich, especially when the engine is steaming and emitting deadly smoke. .
Most times, when the bulldozers are rolled out by the Department of Development Control, of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, to correct infringement or restore developmental order, people would definitely have losses to count.
Minister of the FCT, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello, though not in a haste to cause pains to the residents, recently said that he would remain resolute in preserving the sanctity of the Abuja Master Plan.
This, he had done by demolishing both slums and structures in the highbrow areas.
According to him, those that flagrantly infringe on the master plan, would be dealt with according to the laws of the land.
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