National Association of Nigerian Traders NANTS, FCT chapter has threatened to shut down all markets across the Federal Capital Territory over failure of the FCT authorities to address the issues of Utako market traders.
Among the markets, NANTS said it will be closing, includes all business plazas around the city.
The traders association said that anything shut of proper negotiation would be tantamount to a close down of business activities across the FCT.
While speaking to the media shortly after peace meeting with the Permanent Secretary FCT, Mr. Chnyeaka Ohaa, President of the traders’ association, Comrade Edozie Ugwu, stated that his association wants nothing less than negotiation that will bring lasting peace.
“We had a good discussion with the permanent secretary, he has suggested that every party should shelve their swords and head for negotiation table.
It was obvious that we earlier pulled out of the committee meeting because we felt that we were no longer happy with the decisions being taken,” Ugwu said.
Also speaking during one of its protest against the AMAC moves to demolish Utako market, Comrade Ugwu noted that the demolition process is in total disregard to the rule of law after court of competent jurisdiction had issued injunctions and ruling stopping them from such.
“It should be noted that the chairman of AMAC, Mr. Abdulahi Adamu Candido, has been boasting before the media men that the ongoing demolition and forceful defacing of Utako market is unstoppable.
We want to call on Nigerians that in the yuletide season when others are making sales, thousands of traders at Utako market are being deliberately denied their means of livelihood,” he added.
However, speaking to newsmen, the AMAC chairma, Abdulahi Adamu Candido, said: “We are trying to find amicable ways to resolve the crisis, in the end there will be no victor and no vanquished.
The traders are our people, while the market is to serve the people. The interest of the area council is to ensure the protection of property and all interests”.
Candido was resolute when he said: “We have reasonably resolved the issues. The developers will continue with their job while traders will continue their business. The police is there to ensure the protection of lives and property.”
In a twist, the chairman of Utako Market Traders’ Association, Nelson Onwuemelu disagreed that they have resolved the issues.
He insisted that “work must stop while the negotiations continue, we cannot be negotiating while work is going on. Our demand is give us the prototype, we have the capacity to develop the market.”
Meanwhile, the protesters also described the Chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) as “wicked”, ethnic jingoist who deliberately put their business in jeopardy.
Leader of the protesting traders’ group, Michael Ndu told the FCT Permanent Secretary, Sir Christian Chinyeaka Ohaa that the traders were not carried along in their remodeling drive.
Ndu told Ohaa that “if not for wickedness, why should Candido choose now, our business peak period for the yuletide to obstruct our businesses”.
The workers demanded that work in the market should stop before they return to the negotiating table.
“Let work stop, let us get a MoU before any other thing,” he said.
The traders’ leader told the permanent secretary that they pulled out of the technical meeting because they perceived that the AMAC Chairman was not sincere, and that they had taken decisions before bringing the traders in to ratify the decisions that was against the interest of the traders.
However, the FCT Permanent Secretary, Mr. Christian Ohaa blamed the traders for pulling out of the technical meeting.
He told them that they would have come to the FCTA if they perceived any problem with the technical meeting as he warned that “you cannot stop government from taking decision”.
“Abuja is the centre of the nation and all of you are entitled to whatever you have here. Nobody will take away your shops from you and nobody will demolish your shops.”
Life is dynamic and change is inevitable, we don’t want to showcase shanties, we want you to return to the round table. We will look into your problems passionately; put down your arms let’s discuss,” Ohaa told the traders.
Idu Jude, Abuja