The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) began rigorous raiding of all the forests close to Jiwa, Dei-Dei, and its environs on Tuesday as part of attempts to calm the tension that followed the fatal fight at Dei-Dei, which resulted in the deaths of 5 persons.
About 15 suspects were apprehended in the surprise raid of the forest.
DAILY POST gathered that since the unfortunate incident in the area, residents of Dei-Dei and the surrounding environs have been living in fear.
Their fears stem from the activities of miscreants and touts allegedly hiding in the nearby forest and the possibility of them launching another attack.
The authorities also alleged that the miscreants are hibernating in the surrounding forests and were allegedly recruited to cause havoc in the area from such settlements.
The Sarkin Jiwa, HRH Alhaji 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 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 hide, to guarantee maximum safety and security for all residents.
Attah added that the FCTA had no plans to stop the legitimate business of waste collection and recycling but have the responsibility to tackle the crimes and criminals operating under any guise.
He said, ” We got intensive complaints about insecurity around 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 is what we will not fold our hands and watch”, Attah noted.
Corroborating such claims, a man who works in Kagini Community, Chidiebere Nwajiuba, confirmed the menace of the scavengers in the area, saying on several occasions he had fallen victim to their attacks.
Further, with a sorrow ladened 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.
Nwajiuba also corroborated the claims that scavengers were involved in the crisis that rocked Dei-Dei and it’s environs last week.