Soldiers beat up Abuja mo­torists over park­ing

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - By Sun­day Michael Ogwu, Mustapha Suleiman & Fran­cis Arinze Iloani

FCT of­fi­cials backed by a team of mil­i­tary men yes­ter­day in Abuja bru­talised mo­torists and marked their wind­shields with red paint for al­leged wrong park­ing.

An Abuja high court last week ruled the ‘Park and Pay’ scheme op­er­ated by the FCTA as il­le­gal.

Jus­tice Peter Af­fen of Apo di­vi­sion in his rul­ing said, “there is no law made ei­ther by the Na­tional As­sem­bly or the Abuja mu­nic­i­pal area coun­cil (AMAC) sup­port­ing the pol­icy.”

The FCT min­is­ter Bala Mo­hammed Mon­day sus­pended the scheme fol­low­ing the court judge­ment.

But yes­ter­day of­fi­cials of the Abuja De­vel­op­ment Con­trol backed by a team of soldiers and air force men ha­rassed mo­torists and marked their ve­hi­cles with red paint in a man­ner not seen be­fore.

What shocked the vic­tims and even mem­bers of the pub­lic was that the cars that were so marked were parked at lo­ca­tions pro­vided for the ‘Park and Pay’ scheme.

In Utako and Jabi districts res­i­dents won­dered why the mil­i­tary is in­volved in op­er­a­tions that are purely the du­ties of the po­lice.

The no­tice on the marked ve­hi­cles reads, “You are ad­vised to stop park­ing your ve­hi­cle at non­des­ig­nated lo­ca­tion(s) within the Federal Cap­i­tal City fail­ing which ap­pro­pri­ate sanc­tions will be im­posed on any de­faulter.

“There will be no com­pen­sa­tion for de­face­ment or dam­ages to any ve­hi­cle in the course of en­force­ment.”

A res­i­dent who wit­nessed the oper­a­tion asked: “Are we ter­ror­ists that FCDA has to come out in such com­bat­ant mood, beat­ing just about any­one who dares to ask ques­tions? So now we have soldiers as FCDA con­trac­tors who in­stead of look­ing for ter­ror­ists are now more in­ter­ested in money spin­ning il­le­gal ven­tures of govern­ment?”

Our re­porters ob­served that the de­faced ve­hi­cles were parked by the side of the road clearly marked for park­ing with white paint.

Anthony Okonkwo, a wit­ness, said, “We all know the truth. They will never ad­mit what they did; they will start say­ing that some­one tried to fight them. They will try to le­galise what they did. They are clearly out for ex­tor­tion and FCDA is aware of this.”

One of the vic­tims was man­han­dled, along O.P. Fin­gesi street, in Utako at about 4 pm for tak­ing pic­tures of the en­force­ment ac­tiv­i­ties.

An­other wit­ness re­counted that the team was de­fac­ing parked ve­hi­cles fu­ri­ously when they sighted a man tak­ing their pic­tures from a bal­cony of one of the houses on the street.

The soldiers force­fully ejected him from his house at No. 3 O.P. Fin­gesi street, broke his phone and drag him to the street and beat him up.

The De­vel­op­ment Con­trol Depart­ment then went on seal the build­ing thus pre­vent­ing other ten­ants en­try.

Em­manuel Inah, a staff of Em­pire En­ergy in the build­ing lo­cated at No. 4 of the same street, was taken to the hospi­tal for treat­ment af­ter he was beaten up by the of­fi­cials for at­tempt­ing to clean up one of the ve­hi­cles de­faced with red paint.

“Of­fi­cials on the en­force­ment team picked sticks and cop­per wire and started beat­ing me,” he told Daily Trust.

A fe­male staff of Em­pire En­ergy told our re­porters that she had to throw her­self be­tween Inah and the soldiers to halt the beat­ing.

Pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer of the De­vel­op­ment Con­trol Depart­ment Mr Kalu Emetu did not pick his calls nor replied to a text mes­sage sent to his phone.

The Sec­re­tary of the FCT Trans­port Sec­re­tariat Mr. Jonathan Ivoke, who was rec­om­mended to com­ment on the in­ci­dent by the Chief Press Sec­re­tary to the FCT Min­is­ter, could not be reached.


A house marked by of­fi­cials of Abuja Met­ro­pol­i­tan, Man­age­ment Coun­cil, af­ter soldiers as­saulted a man in­side the build­ing for pho­tograph­ing the of­fi­cials mark­ing ve­hi­cles parked near the house at O.P.. Fingersi Street in Utako, Abuja yes­ter­day.

One of the ve­hi­cles de­faced by the FCT of­fi­cials.

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