From Nsikak Ekpenyong Abuja.
The Iyaloja General of the federation and national leader of Nigerian traders, Chief Dr, Mujidat Folashade Tinubu-Ojo has called on wealthy private developers to invest more in the development of markets in Abuja to absorb petty, roadside traders who have been served eviction notices by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCDA) and the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC).
Chief’ Folashade, who spoke with newsmen in Abuja shortly after laying the foundation stone for the construction of the New Apo Auto Parts/Mechanic Complex on Tuesday regretted that traders have to live daily with the acute shortage and high cost of shops pointing out that those who sell beside the roadsides do not have something better and would willingly relocate when provided good options.
The Iyaloja commended the construction of the Apo complex stating that it will help decongest the roads and provide relief for traders who will be evicted from the road sides but she appealed that the cost of the shops should be made affordable to traders.
The Chairman of the occasion, Chief Kinsley Okwudili (Ajiegbe) in his opening remark also prayed that the market should provide permanent relief to thousands of traders who will be evicted from their roadside makeshift shops.
He expressed delight that a private developer, Nurembeger Group which specialises in real estate and construction has taken up the challenge of providing alternative shops for hundreds of traders who will be affected by the eviction order.
“On this occasion of the ground breaking ceremony of Nurnberger Auto-parts/ Mechanic complex, we have cause to be grateful to God. We are even more grateful to God for letting our brother see the opportunity to assist the government in providing succour to traders at the Apo mechanic village, whose businesses and means of livelihood are on the verge of being displaced by the planned road construction of the government,” he said.
The Executive Director of Nurnberger Group, Dr Anthony Chike Ezekwugo stated that the Auto-parts/Mechanic complex would be “a unique and phenomenal project and when completed, will be first of a kind in Nigeria in many ways. For one, the complex will be the first off grid market in Nigeria. The structure will be made up of over one thousand, three Hundred (1,300) lockup shops, over 60 warehouses, a medical clinic, police station and fire service station to service the market.
“It also has two units of banking buildings, places of worship and a shopping mall of over 40 commercial spaces, to service the basic and social needs of the people in the market and its environs.”
He promised that once construction commences in earnest, the facility will gainfully engage over 1,000 Nigerian youths for the construction phase and get them off the streets.
Dr. Ezekwugu emphasized that the project will provide a viable alternative for the Apo traders when completed and also attract rapid development around the locality.
He thanked Chief Dr. Mujidat Folasade Tinubu- Ojo (The Iyaloja General) for her continuous support and show of solidarity by coming personally to Abuja to lay the foundation stone the project which he promised would be completed within 48 months.
In a brief interview with our correspondent, Dr. Ezekwugo said the project will cost more than N9 billion with funding to be sourced locally even as he reiterated that the market will be ready for use in 48 months, he also at the event donated one Hilux patrol pickup to Apo Division of police force for effective security in the territory,he said.