Some residents of Byazhin, Kubwa, Abuja, whose business premises were demolished by the Federal Capital Territory Administration, on Monday described the exercise as “harsh”.
A cross section of the affected residents alleged that they were not given enough notices to enable them to make alternative arrangements.
Others lamented the loss of their business premises to the exercise and complained that it would affect their financial responsibilities to their family.
The Pastor of Bethel Boamages Church, Byazhin, Mr Chika Ejiogu, told the News Agency of Nigeria that the church was not notified on the demolition plan.
He said the plot where the church was erected was duly allocated to an individual, who willingly gave his consent for the church to use it.
“They came this morning and pulled down the church without any notification.
“At least, they should have notified us so that we can remove some of our property. This is unfair and the government should come to our rescue,” he said.
Mr Ggenga Ojo, a mechanic, whose shop was demolished, complained that the exercise had denied him of a source of livelihood.
“They just came and started marking structures for the exercise. They even destroyed a vehicle that was parked here for repairs.
“We have been here since 2001 when this place was a bush. Now that we have succeeded in opening it up, they are evicting us.
“There are still large areas of bush left undeveloped around here; they should shift attention to these areas,” he said.
A spray painter, Mr Samuel Odunayo, said the officials pulled down his spray room and damaged some of his tools, adding that such actions could increase crime in the area.
“This action could increase crime in the society. I advise government to consider artisans in formulating their policies,” he said.
NAN reports that since January 2014, FCTA embarked on a “clean-up” exercise of the FCT, which entailed removal of illegal structures in parts of the territory.
In a reaction, the District Officer of the Department of Development Control in Kubwa, Mr Abubakar Sodangi, told NAN that the affected areas were illegally occupied.
Sodangi said the area was reserved by the FCTA for future development.
He said the area was not earmarked for artisans, adding that “the whole area is a government layout reserved for future development and is not allocated for commercial use.
“There is a mechanic village along Zuba road and the artisans should take advantage of that,” he said.
He said the church was removed because it occupied a residential plot.
“It is wrong to build a church in a plot allocated for residential building; even if the owner of the plot gave permission, development control cannot allow such distortion of our environment,” he said.
He advised residents of Kubwa to desist from erecting extensions in their residences to avoid demolition of such structures.