By: Wisdom Acka
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has said that it demolished the popular UTC Shopping Complex in Area 10, Garki, Abuja to make room for reconstruction and upgrading of the over 30-year old complex.
Deputy Director in charge of Monitoring and Inspection, Department of Development Control, Hassan Ogbole, who gave this explanation during the exercise, added that structures at the complex became defective, unhealthy and unsafe for continued habitation, hence the imperative to pull it down for upgrade in line with global best standards.
He stressed that the structures were “long overdue for restructuring to fit into a shopping complex model required to grow SMEs to address global business needs and challenges”.
According to him, provision had already been made to accommodate the traders and other occupants of the complex to ensure unhindered reconstruction of the place.
He also stated that enough notices had been served on the occupants to enable them move out and allow the construction work to start, but many of them refused to vacate, while some deliberately refused to move out.
“The place is in state of disrepair, it is no longer habitable for occupation and business activities. The place has to give way for a new development,” he said.
“The company handling the development has informed Development Control and we are here to enforce compliance. We have given them enough notices for them to remove their goods to enable the firm start the work”, Ogbole added.
Secretary, Command and Control, FCTA Department of Security Services, Peter Olumiji, who also spoke, said that demolishing the complex was also necessary to curtail security challenges in the area.
Olumiji noted that apart from restructuring the place to meet global standards, there was the need to curtail the criminal activities prevalent in the place.
He disclosed that the remodeling of the place, was carefully designed to end the thuggery at the place, especially faking of official documents.
One of the traders in the Complex, Samuel Onuchukwu, said that the affected traders and others were worried because the temporary site provided by the developers was not secured for business.
According to him, they woke up early in the morning on Saturday to learn that the whole UTC area had been barricaded, and demolishing going on , with people’s personal goods still entrapped.