Traffic Gridlock: FCTA Shuts, Cleans Dutse-Alhaji Market

By: Wisdom Acka

Following gradual resurgence of traffic build up along Dutse-Alhaji road by the market, authorities of the FCT Administration over the weekend shut down the market for general clean up and renovation.

The gradual return of traffic to the area was said to have been caused by lack of parking space inside the market, which has been converted into illegally attached shops.

Part of activities of the enforcement exercise included general clean up of the market premises, disilting of its drainage systems and removal of all make shift shops, popularly known as attachment, which took every available space.

The team also cleared the market of broken wooden tables and benches used in blocking passage ways; heaps of littered polythene materials like plastics and nylon papers; as well as stones and general refuse.

All the makeshift shops fastened to walls of the main shops and the others nailed into the ground on walk and drive ways were all removed, assembled and burnt to ashes.

The perimeter fencing of the market earlier built by the current FCT Administration, about two years ago, was also given a face lift as it was all painted, besides leveling up of erosion affected portions of the market.

Also, the team, which arrived the market in the early hours of Saturday, constructed two beautifully giant gates, renovated the fence and installed them at the entrance and exit of the market, replacing the ones that were vandalized and stolen.

Senior Special Assistant to FCT Minister on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement, Comrade Ikharo Attah, who led the Dutse-Alhaji team explained to journalists that his principal, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello, was determined to keep the market clean at all times, and ensure its operation does not impede smooth traffic flow along the road, thereby, causing road users hardship and pain.

Ikharo said: “We want them to know that they cannot have attachments in the markets because that makes it difficult for seamless movement and for cars to come in, and thereby force people to the main roads to block the road for road users to pass freely and suffer them in the process.”

“We have been here continueously for this. The FCT Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello, who has taken this market as a dear project has tasked us to keep this market under check and keep the road corridor very free,” he added.

“He (Bello) was the one who fenced this beautiful market and has done so many work here putting up the gate, which was broken and stolen,” the SSA lamented.

He added, “Today, we are restoring the gate, painting the fence and carrying out general renovation and clean up work.”

Attah said that “we could not have achieved this much with the market on, so we had to close it in partnership with Bwari Area Council to enable us clean it thoroughly in and out”.

According to him, all our team from the Abuja Environmental Protecrion Board (AEPB), Department of Development Control and all others had free chance to work that is why you can see the market wearing a different beautiful face just as the Minister wants it to look.

Commenting on the Olajumoke Akinjide section of the Market, which was still unkept at the time of interview, the SSA assured that his men would return on Monday for another round of cleaning, revealing that there was equally serious firts and illegalities to be corrected at this market.

“We will go back to the Olajumoke Market in Dutse-Alhaji. We never knew the extent of the illegality at that market. We saw it and together with the Bwari Area Council, represented by the Council Secretary, Hon. Eli, we will get back there and purge it very soon,” the SSA reiterated.

He stressed that hopefully by Monday morning, “because we cannot be doing clean up when they are selling since it is so crowded. We therefore asked the traders to join us on Monday morning to clean up the market.”

Advising the traders and buyers to use an alternative market, located near the Army Housing Scheme, Ikharo assured them that the alternative market was of superb quality and one of the best which was visited and endorsed by the FCT Minister.

Secretary, Bwari Area Council, Kadanya Peter Eli, who spoke on behalf of the Council reiterated the readiness of his Council to work in synergy with the FCTA and traders to ensure the market was cleaned in line with the directive of the Minister.

Eli pledged the commitment of Bwari Area Council to clean up exercises of other markets in the FCT, particularly those within the council.

An Assistant Director in charge of Operation with the AEPB, Kaka Bello assured that his men were on ground to ensure total clean up of not just the market but also other areas.

He recalled that the team had, two years ago, cleared the road corridor which paved way for the road expansion and fencing, which he noted, has greatly reduced the hitherto hydra headed witnessed by commuters playing that road.