VIDEO & PHOTOS: Traders protest shutdown of Utako Ultra-Modern market in Abuja

Business activities were on Monday crippled at the Utako Ultra-Modern Market in Abuja, following protest by aggrieved traders over alleged plan by the Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, to take over the market.

They irate traders closed their shops and were seen protesting within and outside the market, while security operatives, fully armed could be seen barricading the entrance to the market.

When our correnpondence visited the market, it was gathered that government was planning to takeover the market after reneging on its 1997 agreement to lease out the land to traders.

Newsflash247  learned that in 1997, AMAC management allocated an empty plot of land to traders to develop, adding that the allocation was for 99 years.

The agreement was said to be predicated on the fact that traders were to develop the land and after 99 years, hand the market over to the government.

It was observed that entrance to the market was closed to the public under the alleged pretense of remolding and redeveloping the car park, which was barricaded.

Newsflash247 gathered that government was allegedly plotting to takeover the market, starting from the construction of new shops under the claim of redevelopment.

Speaking with our correspondent, the Chairman, Utako Market Association, Nelson Onwuemodo, accused the government of plotting to take over the market from traders.

Onwuemeodo claimed that the government is strategically reneging on its agreement it had with management of the market in 1997.

According to him, “What you are seeing here today is people’s movement, they feel they have been shortchange and cheated by the high and mighty in the Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, who have come to steal from them.

“Utako market was charterred for Utako District in 1997, the then administration gave out the place due to paucity of funds. That was how this place was allocated as an empty space of land.

“In the allocation, they instructed us to erect a permanent structure because they gave us with a prototype and we did and they commissioned it. Since then, we have been doing our business without any problem.

“We have been paying our ground rent, however, a year ago we discovered that they changed it to tenement rate but we protested. When they saw that we have discovered their ‘kurukere’ they changed it.

“Next, we started hearing rumour of restructuring, remodeling and redevelopment. We are displeased because we built the shops ourselves. If there is need, we should be the ones to renovate it. Funny enough, we were never informed, they went ahead with their drawings, sought approval of their collaborators from FCDA before mobilizing to site, we are saying no.

“We have protested to the National Assembly and to the Minister.

It was when we were summoned that the Minister heard their plan. They never informed us officially.”


Watch video here…


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