Abuja: 472 UTC shop owners to relocate to temporary site over facelift

No fewer than 472 shop owners and traders in Union Trading Company, popularly known as UTC Area 10 market have concluded arrangements to relocate to the completed temporary site beside the existing market.

This followed the agreement signed by Abuja Investment Company Ltd., on behalf of the Federal Capital Territory Administration with Urban Shelter Limited in 2021.

The Technical Coordinator, Urban Shelter Ltd., Mr Ayodele Kolawole, made this known while answering questions from newsmen during the inspection of the temporary market site on Saturday.

He said that necessary measures have been put in place to ensure that nobody was disrupted of his or her livelihood or shortchanged.

According to him, the UTC market building is becoming a slum and threat to the lives of the traders and customers, considering its years of existence.

Kolawole said that the remodeling, which would last for two years would be done in sections, as part of the resolutions reached with the traders, shop owners, Abuja market management , Urban Shelter Ltd., and Abuja Investment Company.

He said prior to the commencement of the remodeling plan, all parties involved had agreed with the Minister of FCT’s endorsement.

Kolawole 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, 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.”

He said that the developer, Urban Shelter, with Abuja Investment Company Limited, have put human face in the matter right from the beginning.

Kolawole said: “They don’t want to push people away from the place they are earning their daily living and throw them into confusion.

“That is why we have put the necessary measures in place to move the traders to the temporary site.

“Prior to the decision, there was a town hall meeting between the traders, the executives and members, including other key stakeholders.

“And they both agreed that they will move to the temporary site, aside the temporary side, there were options given to them.

“But they said they don’t want to go far away from their business environment because of the fear of losing customers.”

Also, one of the traders at the temporary site, Uche Paul, said: “We have paid money and we have since been waiting for the relocation.

He said: “They said after building the place, we will go back, we are ready, most of us have finished paying, the developer is the one that is slow.”

On his part, 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?”

According to him, those refusing to relocate are the few individuals that have engaged in exploiting other innocent 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.”

Source: News Agency of Nigeria