Officials of the FCT Administration (FCTA) have demolished the Lugbe Building Materials Market in Abuja.
The market, which houses businesses for the thriving building industry in the FCT, sits under electricity transmission lines and on a road corridor for the Ring Road 3 project, which officials said necessitated the demolition.
The FCTA conducted the demolition with a combined security outfit to destroy the stalls built in shafts which the marketers said had been in existence for the past 20 years.
The marketers claimed the demolition caught them off guard, even though they were informed.
When City & Crime visited the place, marketers were seen trying to save their wares from the bulldozers brought to destroy the market.
A drizzle during the exercise did not deter the officials from leveling the market.
The Chairman of Sand Suppliers in the market, who simply identified himself as Abdulrahman, said he was shocked by the total demolition of the market as the information they had was that it would only affect those under the electricity transmission lines.
Abdulrahman noted that transactions of over N2bn were conducted in the market daily, with more than 2,000 persons conducting trade to feed their families.
He said, “We were aware of the demolition, but they did not give us the appropriate time to prepare to pack our goods. We have been conducting our trade in the area for 20 years without any trouble with authorities, but what they told us from different meetings we had was that the demolition won’t affect those not close to the transmission lines.
“That was why we were not prepared to pack our loads. Even when they brought the bulldozers yesterday, we were relaxed, but unfortunately, they destroyed millions of goods just to clear the place.”
Another trader, Michael Obi, said the authorities had informed them of the demolition two months ago but that most traders did not pack out due to the state of the area assigned to them.
Obi said the market provided as an alternative was in Sabon Lugbe but lacked an access road to heavy trucks which brought goods they ordered.
While stating that the demolition was bad timing, he said the traders and residents would suffer from the demolition as the market contributed a huge revenue for everyone.
Speaking at the site, FCTA’s Director, Department of Development Control, Mukhtar Galadima, said the exercise was to clean the city from illegal structures and shanties.
He said the market area was a road corridor that led to Gwarinpa and other parts of the city.
It was further learnt that the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has given a contract for the energisation of the transmission lines that pass through the market, hence that the market had to be removed before the contractors moved to the site.