The Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, on Tuesday raided all the forests close to Jiwa, Dei-Dei, and its environs as part of an attempt to calm the tensions that followed the fatal fight at Dei-Dei, which resulted in the deaths of over 15 people.
Residents of Dei-Dei and the surrounding settlements are still living in fear a week after the mayhem with the fear that miscreants hiding in the nearby forest will launch another attack.
These communities’ forests are known hideouts where miscreants were allegedly recruited to cause havoc in the area.
The Sarkin Jiwa, Idris Musa who endorsed the raid, also confirmed the allegations that the forests harbour criminal elements who disturb the peace of the communities.
Meanwhile, the Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement to FCT Minister, Ikharo Attah hinted that the operation was necessitated by public outcry against the activities of scavengers, popularly known as Baban Bolas.
He said that while residents confirmed the involvement of the scavengers in the Dei-Dei crisis, it has also been established that a lot of notorious crimes were traceable to them.
He, however, bemoaned a situation where scavengers are often found to be moving around with dangerous weapons and attacking innocent residents.
He said the operation will be extended to other places where these criminal elements are to guarantee maximum safety and security for all residents.
Mr Attah added that FCTA had no plans to stop the legitimate business of waste collection and recycling but had the responsibility to tackle the crimes and criminals operating under any guise.
According to him: ”We got intensive complaints about insecurity around the Jiwa axis and communities that have come under attacks by people believed to be baban bolas.
“This area is also notorious as it was the place where two police officers were ambushed and their rifles were also taken away before they were later recovered.
“This is why we have to come out today under the directives of the FCT Minister, to clean all the dangerous forests where these people are taking shelter and wreaking havoc on the residents. We have arrested over 15 persons.
” Waste collection and recycling are not crimes, but the crimes associated with Baban Bolas are what we will not fold our hands and watch,” Mr Attah noted.
Speaking also, a man who works in Kagini Community, Chidiebere Nwajiuba, with a heavy heart confirmed the notoriety of the scavengers in the area, saying that he had fallen victim several times.
Further, with a sorrow-laden voice, he alleged that his car had been vandalised, while buildings under construction in his site within the same area were attacked and all iron stolen by the scavengers.