Arrangements have been concluded for no fewer than 472 shop owners and traders at the UTC shopping area in Area 10, Garki, to relocate to a temporary site beside the market following an agreement signed by the Abuja Investment Company Ltd on behalf of the FCT Administration and Urban Shelter Limited in 2021.
The Technical Coordinator of Urban Shelter, Mr Ayodele Kolawole, disclosed this while answering questions from newsmen during an inspection of the temporary site on Saturday.
He said that necessary measures had been put in place to ensure that nobody was disrupted of his or her livelihood or shortchanged.
He explained that the UTC market building was becoming a slum and threat to the lives of the traders and customers considering its years of existence.
Kolawole noted that the remodelling, which would last for two years, would be done in sections as part of the resolution reached with the traders, shop owners, Abuja Markets Management, Urban Shelter and Abuja Investment Company.
He said that prior to the commencement of the remodelling plan, all parties involved had agreed with the Minister of FCT’s endorsement.
Kolawole further said, “The temporary market site for relocation of UTC traders and shop owners from the existing market is ready. There is nothing to fear; they had over 472 shops there, but in the temporary site, the shops are 480.
“The market is going to be redeveloped. The Minister of FCT wants the environment to be facelifted because the area is becoming a slum.
“The minister had directed that the market should be given a facelift, and the facelifting is the redevelopment; total redevelopment.”
On his part, a former Chairman of the traders in the market, Lanre Ajayi, said: “I have paid for my shop. So, how can someone say that we don’t want to move?”
He noted that those refusing to relocate were the few individuals that had engaged in exploiting other traders.
Ajayi said: “Some of them are shop agents, others are agents of 20 to 30 shops; that is their means of livelihood; they don’t want to leave.
“We have over 472 shops in the old place, but those that stay in those shops are close to 700.” (NAN)