HomePoliticsReps Vow To Address Igbo Traders' Land Concern In Abuja

Reps Vow To Address Igbo Traders’ Land Concern In Abuja

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Apo traders are said to have faced countless difficulties due to land allocation, prompting members of the House of Representatives to pledge their commitment to resolving this issue.

The commitment came in response to a petition submitted by the traders in Abuja on Monday.

Hon. Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere led the lawmakers during the presentation of the petition at Apo Mechanic Village, where Chimezie Ifeh, Chairman of the Apo Traders Association, addressed them, stating that even though they had committed to the land allocation agreement, successive ministers had consistently reneged on their obligations.

Ifeh recounted the difficulties they have faced since 1990 when the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) initially provided them with an allocation paper, granting them a permanent business location.

The traders, predominantly consisting of auto spare parts sellers, auto engineers, mechanics, artisans, and other auto-related businesses in Apo, recollected that the EndSARS protest resulted in the loss of two lives and billions of naira worth of property.

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Ifeh said: ‘Because we are trading on the road corridor, we have spent over hundred million on this our project and all the present and the past directors have advised us on what to do and we have done them, still, the former minister refused to sign the lease agreement.’

‘Many years ago, Apo Traders started her business in Garki Village during the era of IBB and Garki Village was the place Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) first give to us for our business place, later we were moved to Durumi now National Assembly Quarter, from there we were also moved close to Apo round about.’

‘In 1990 the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) gave us a permanent place for our business with allocation paper and we were directed how to build our shop, according to AMAC plan, to the glory of God many of our members built their shop and started their business and we were all doing very well in our business, but in 2006, the Minister of FCT, Nasir El-Rufai gave us 48 hours to vacate our shops, before the 48 hours, he ordered Development Control to demolish our shops, many of our members died as a result of shock. From that time, we started trading on the road corridor.’

As stated in the petition, in 2010, the Association communicated with the former Honorable Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Sen. Bala Mohammed, who not only approved their request but also directed them to find an appropriate location for their operations.

It was also highlighted in the petition that Assistant Director Mr. Wale Aderitan contacted the traders, informing them that a suitable place had been secured to accommodate their activities.

‘The Assistant Director called for a meeting between us and the FCDA. At the meeting, they told us that all the expenses that will be made on the said land will be taken care by us and we agreed to take care of all the expenses on the land and they introduced a surveyor for us, Earth Moving Services Nig Ltd. He change us 10.5 million naira and we paid him the money and we have the receipt.’

‘After some months, we found out that the FCDA did not do anything on our site. We decide to write a protest letter to FCDA and later we wrote to National Assembly under public petition that was 2012 and 2013 and they invited both parties that is FCDA and us, the Apo Traders Association. Mr. Wale spoke for FCDA and they promised National Assembly that they will give us all the documents of the land within 3 months of that date. We started the follow up, to the glory of God on the March 2015 Sen. Bala Mohammed gave us the letter of intent in a colourful event in Apo.’

‘The lease agreement was drafted by FCDA legal department and we pay for the Job. we have written various agencies, Director DSS, Inspector General Police. Commissioner of Police, National Assembly, all the Directors of FCDA both present and the past, permanent secretaries and legal counsel,’ the traders added.

In their appeal tot lawmakers, the traders said, ‘we want to use this opportunity to plead with you your excellency to come to our aid and help us because so many of our members have died and many properties have been destroyed without compensation or reallocation.’

Hon. Ugochinyere, in his remarks, guaranteed that the House of Representatives would take up the petition for discussion, scheduling it for either Tuesday or Wednesday.

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