The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has disclosed that about N67 billion will be required for the remodeling project of the popular Utako Market in Abuja.
FCTA Permanent Secretary, Mr Christian Chinyeaka Ohaa, has accordingly urge protesting Utako market traders and shop owners to return to the negotiating table to make room for amicable resolution of issues generated by recent plan to upgrade the market by the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) authorities.
He made this appeal in a meeting with the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Traders, and Utako Market Traders Association in his office in Abuja.
Mr Ohaa assured them that no one would short-change them or take away their shops unduly in the course of the remodeling exercise estimated at N67 billion.
He expressed concern over the way and manner the traders pulled out from earlier negotiations and urged them to return to the negotiating table to express their grievances with an open mind as stakeholders in the Abuja project.
“We are committed to ensuring justice and due process. The developers have assured us that no one will lose his shop and we hold them by their words and will not superintend over injustice. This is government of change, committed to moving Nigeria forward. Abuja is the city of unity, as envisioned by our founding fathers and a home for every Nigerian”, he stressed.
The representative of the developer, Engineer Rabiu Sa’id, at the occasion gave assurances to the shop owners that they would all get their shops even before commencement of sale of the new shops to the public.
He also revealed that the remodeling would provide 2100 shops, three times more than the existing shops, in addition to a 1500-space multi-level car park.
“No traders will lose his shop. We will spend N67billion to develop the market, and we have not sold any shop. We will not sell any shop until everybody that has a shop there gets his shop. The issue of short-changing anyone does not arise, at all”, he assured.
The Chairman, Utako Market Traders Association, Austin Onwuamado, expressed happiness over the outcome of the meeting while appealing that the traders’ interest be protected by the government during and after the construction exercise.