The Taraba Ministry of Urban Development on Tuesday said the ongoing demolition of illegal structures erected within the Jalingo metropolis was to restore the state capital’s original master plan.

Mr Abel Bako, the Administrative Officer of the Ministry, told newsmen in Jalingo that the exercise was aimed at easing congestion in Jalingo.

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Bako said the Jalingo master plan, which had been disrupted by illegal structures, must be restored before infrastructure development could occur in the metropolis.

He denied claims in some quarters that the exercise was politically motivated, stressing that the measure was carried out in line with laid down rules and regulations of the ministry.

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The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ministry had mobilised tractors and graders to Sintali Filling Station area, and began destruction of about ten shops beside the station along Donga road.

Although the owners of the shops attempted to resist the action by burning tyres to intimidate the staff of the ministry, they were repelled by soldiers and policemen already mobilised to the area.

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One of the demolished shop owners, Shehu Usman, said the ministry “ruthlessly” destroyed their shops without compensation.

He, however, said the aggrieved persons had concluded arrangements to challenge the demolition in court “because we legally acquired the demolished building”.