A newly sited quarry, opposite the Department of State Services (DSS) institute in Usuma Dam and behind Jordan FM in Ushafa, Abuja, has posed a great danger to the security of lives and property, as well as the safety of residents of the only recognized Abuja village, also known as Clinton Village.
NDREPORTERS observes that the quarry company whose owners are believed to be powerful individuals in government commenced excavation of the area since early 2020 amid warnings by the DSS and Water Board over its negative impacts on the community and public property within the area. While the DSS is concerned about the security threat of constant blasting of rocks and extreme noise within the area, the FCT Water Board had raised the alarm over the impact of the quarry located just a few meters away from the lower part of the Dam that could trigger unimaginable disaster.
Lower Usuma Dam supplies water to FCT homes, including the presidency.
A source at the DSS institute, who preferred not to be mentioned, termed the location of the quarry as illegal, stating that it threatened the existence of the institute and posed a general security threat to the FCT.
He said, “For crying out loud, this is wrong. How can a right-thinking person or persons even think of citing a quarry of this nature around a DSS institute? Apart from the constant blasting of the rocks that will interrupt and interfere in our activities, it’s a huge security risk to allow a quarry site just here. Intelligence gathering shall become very difficult. Even if they are not blasting, the usual noise of their heavy-duty vehicles and other activities such as ‘picking of rocks and stones’ are a huge security threat. We have communicated to them to move, but they seem adamant. It looks like some powerful forces are behind their activities.’’
NDREPORTERS gathered that the Department of Development Control had earlier this year demolished their structures, warning them to quit, but they had allegedly secured an injunction to continue operations within the area.
When our correspondent visited the site, the company had already moved some of its equipment to site. A few individuals believed to be owners of government allocated land within the area were seen discussing the matter, lamenting that locating the quarry company in the area was capable of slowing down the development of their property. They lamented that allowing them to continue their operation in a place allocated for residential buildings would be a grave error.
Some landowners, however, lamented that the quarry company had encroached unto their portion of land.
“I came here to put up a beacon but I was stopped by a man who claimed to be the company lawyer. He argued that they own up to this point. But look at my paper. I even brought a surveyor for this job. I paid the surveyor to ‘beacon’ the land, but they have now taken over the land. This looks like land grabbing. I thought they had a boundary. Why are they now encroaching unto people’s properties?’’ She asked.
NDREPORTERS confirmed this development when our correspondent disguised as a landowner and visited the site but was stopped from putting beacons on a particular portion of the land by a man who could only identify himself as the company lawyer.
Claiming ownership of the area, he said, “we got orders to operate from a higher authority. You are not allowed to beacon this place. We have paid for it. Are you bigger than FCDA?’’ he said.
On the threat to the Dam that supplies water to FCT residents, a staff of the Usuma Dam Water Treatment Plant told DAILY POST that allowing any quarry activity close to the dam puts the entire Ushafa, Dutse, Kubwa and adjoining satellite towns in serious danger, stating that the Dam could overflow due to constant blasting and other activities that could have impact on the soil.
‘’Look at the Dam and look at the quarry. This is not good at all. This is even the lower part of the dam; that makes it more terrible. I think the authorities should wade in immediately. We have written several petitions, and we don’t know what they are still doing here. They need to relocate. They should move to where their activities won’t be a threat to others,’’ the staff who pleaded not to be named said.
When NDREPORTERS went to the quarry site a second time to speak with the site managers, none was ready to comment on the matter, insisting via side comments that they were into a legitimate business.
Meanwhile, most Ushafa residents who spoke to NDREPORTERS on the development, lamented the operations of the quarry.
They probed to know who rented the land to the quarry owners, charging NDREPORTERS to investigate further on the matter to know those behind the quarry.
Recall that mining sites across the country, especially in most parts of the north, have recently become threats to the nation’s security as it has been alleged that bandits and terrorists are being sponsored by miners.