FCT minister Muhammadu Bello has advised residents of Apo and Gudu in Abuja Municipal Area Council to resist attempt by external forces to divide them.
“We must strive to live together; we must strive to live in peace,” Bello said on Thursday when he paid a solidarity and fact-finding visit to Apo Mechanic village and Dutse Alhaji in Bwari Area Council.
“We are here to commiserate with you. Already, a committee has been set up. Your members will be invited to be part of it so that we can know what was destroyed and how they can be replaced.
“Abuja is our city and we, including yours sincerely, all came here to look for food.
“So, under no circumstances should we allow people from somewhere to come and disturb us because the moment you destroy anything, it would be difficult to replace it.
“I am appealing to all of you to live in peace and harmony. I assure you that security personnel will protect you day and night.
“Don’t allow external forces to divide us. A committee is being worked out by the FCT administration to ensure proper collation of all vehicles and property destroyed so that compensation will be paid adequately,” he said
Bello told the residents that the FCT administration had already held a security meeting with stakeholders drawn from across board to ascertain the level of damages.
The FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, in her remarks, urged residents to eschew further violence and give peace a chance.
“We are here on a solidarity visit to express our deep heart felt for all that happened following the destruction that took place here on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“We share your grief, but we are begging you to let us come together again as one. All of us are here in the FCT to look for what to eat and not what will divide us.
“By the grace of God, the administration has already put in place efforts to compensate those that lost one thing or the other.
“As a mother, I have come to beg you to let us remain one; we must help government by maintaining peace so that we can all benefit from the dividends of democracy.
“We must be united as one because Abuja has brought us together as one,” Aliyu said.
Responding, the Chairman, Apo Traders Association, Mr John Chimeze-Ife, informed the ministers that over N200 million worth of vehicles and properties were destroyed.
“Sir, I must painfully say that we have lost not less than N200 million worth of cars and properties to the hoodlums who came from nowhere to attack us.
“We never participated in the ENdSARS protests; we have been here for a very long time. We are peaceful people and we will remain so.
“We are using this opportunity to plead with the FCT administration to give us a better place to build our mechanic village so that we can also fence it appropriately to avoid disasters like this,’’ Chimeze-Ife sa