Some aggrieved businessmen and artisans under the umbrella of Apo Trades Association (ATA) yesterday stormed the premises of the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), demanding the release of land documents for their new site at Wasa District, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The traders, who stormed the area at about 11 am, in a peaceful protest, carried placards with inscriptions such as: “Pls Coordinator, we beg you in the name of God, we need our land documents”, “We started this journey since 2011, and up till now we are still hearing stories, pls we need our documents now”, and “Since January 2014 your directors promised to show us our site, up till now nothing, pls we have spent over N60,000,000.00.”
Chairman of the Association, Chief Chimezie Ifeh, decried that since 2006 they have suffered a lot at the current place where they operates, in the name of demolition, in Abuja.
He said sometime in 2011, they wrote a letter to the FCT minister; who graciously listened and approved allocation of a land for them at Wasa district; and directed the director of the Department of Urban and regional planning to provide the site to them.
“We have artisans and other people dealing in motor spare parts, auto mechanic amongst others, who build shops in Apo site, which they demolished in 2006, during which they (development control) only gave 24 hours to vacate the place, and since then they have not given us any other place.
“Since then, we have been going there, discussing with them but because of the usual nonchalant tendencies attached to government work, they keep wasting time on the matter, but unfortunately for us we have gone so far. We have spent a lot of money on it.
“Why we came here to protest is because the time given to us has elapsed. We had taken them to the National Assembly, in 2013, and they gave us three months that the documents will be ready; and the three months expired on September last year, and since then we have been going to the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, asking them how far with the matter?
“Although, we are still operating at the old site, but sometime this year they (Development Control) wanted to demolish it and we said no, because the agreement we reached at the National Assembly was that they cannot remove us there until they have given us a permanent place.
“They said we should be patient, and we continued being patient, but whenever we meet them, they would tell us another story. We went to Urban and planning yesterday (Monday), and they told us that all the land documents are here (AMMC), and when we get here they told us that the documents are not with them,” he said.
Addressing newsmen after a quick crisis control meeting with the leaders of the association, Head, Public Relations, AMMC, Mrs. Grace Zamani, said that the said land papers are not with them, adding that all their grievances are based on false information and miscommunication.
She however said the council has already assured them that whenever the land documents come to them, the will be called upon to collected them, noting “until then, nobody is going to doing anything to them, as everything has to be completed, so they have to be patient.”
“The said land papers are not here, it is still with the authorities concerned. And as long as it is not yet here, we can’t tell you where it is, but ones it lands here, they will call them and issue the papers to them”, she explained.