By Stanley Onyekwere
Ahead of today’s scheduled commencement of removal of all attachments to the popular Area 1 Shopping Complex, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has assured that it would make necessary arrangements to provide alternative shops for those who would be affected by the exercise.
The Administration, said during the exercise, which is aimed at decongesting the Mall and its environs, FCTA officials drawn from relevant departments and agencies accompanied by joint team of security personnel would clear all the attachments, extensions and other illegal structures as well as unapproved parking areas.
Prior to the exercise, authorities of the FCT Administration comprising of the Departments of Development Control, Security Services, the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), as well as the Abuja Investments Company Ltd (AICL), at the weekend dialogued with traders at the shopping complex
Explaining the development, Director, Department of Development Control (DDC), Mukhtar Galadima decried that the congested nature of the market, its unhygienic and untidy conditions were not good for response to any emergency.
Galadima informed the traders that the current people-friendly FCT Administration decided to meet with managers of the market, so as to reach an understanding before carrying out the cleaning exercise.
He noted that all the kilishi/suya sellers would be located under one roof, parking spaces inside the market would be removed and that they should have one source of energy, instead of littering the market with generating sets, causing noise pollution.
According to him: “The way the market is very congested and unhygienic is not good for the safety and health of the traders and customers.
“God forbud, but imagine if there is any fire outbreak in this market, it will be disastrous, as rescue operations impossible.
“As a government, we do not have to wait for that to happen before we take action.
“Remember, we were here last year to do some clean up, but this time, it is different. We are going to remove all the attachments, and create space inside the market for parking.
“We are not happy with the traffic situation caused by activities of this market so we will sanitize it in line with the vision of the Nyesom Wike-led FCT Administration in sanitising the Federal Capital Territory.”
He therefore called for support of all stakeholders of the market, as the exercise would be done with human face.
Responding on behalf of the traders, Usman Utaru, thanked the FCT Administration for the initiative to meet and inform them of the plans to remove illegal structures at the mall and its environs.
Usman pledged that they would assist the authorities in sanitising the shopping complex, since it was for their good.