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Towards working out a permanent solution to the issues surrounding the recent disturbances at the Gosa end of the Abuja Airport Expressway, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has revealed that it is favourably disposed towards the upgrade of communities lying on the Abuja Airport Expressway. This, the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has indicated, is the Administration’s considered way out of the threat of environmental degeneration in the area. Similarly, the FCTA has moved to relocate the Gosa Market to a more convenient area further inside the community.  

These actions were part of the resolutions of a meeting between the FCT Minister, his Administration officials, Gosa community leaders and heads of security agencies in the Territory.  The meeting was necessitated by the search for a lasting solution to the recent crisis that engulfed the area last Saturday and Monday.  

Addressing the media at the end of a follow-up tour of affected areas, Bello disclosed that the Traditional Ruler of the Garki Chiefdom, Alh. Usman Ngakupi, under whom the expressway communities fall, has been requested to liaise with the village heads of affected communities to select able bodies youths for recruitment. Accordingly, the selected youths would serve as marshals for the purposes of environmental protection and safeguarding of the road corridors against abuses.  

“I am inclined to consider upgrade of Communities in the area as well as giving them Certificates of Occupancies (Cs of O) for their houses to enable them have bankable documents. But if government is pushed to the wall, we would have no option but to relocate the communities.”

Subsequently the Minister revealed other resolutions of the meeting to include that “there will be no more activities beyond the community boundaries. Trading within the expressway corridors as well as the pedestrian bridges has been prohibited.”  Accordingly, the administration within months, would open up spaces behind the various communities for the purposes of playgrounds, markets, community centres etc.

Bello directed the Executive Secretary, Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) Engr. Umar Gambo Jibrin, to clear the new ground for the relocated Gosa market before Friday as no market would be allowed to hold in the former place any longer.  

FCT Minister conveyed his sympathies to motorists whose vehicles sustained various levels of damages during the crisis which resulted from the clean-up exercise embarked in and around the market by FCTA Development Control officials. He expressed concern over the trauma that innocent travellers were put through during the incident.

Malam Bello warned mischief makers not test the will of the Administration and cautioned that the administration will never again condone such acts of brigandage. He corrected insinuations in some segments of the media that the measure was sudden while recalling his various interactions with the Chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council as well as other major stakeholders including joint visits to the area since October last year.

Addressing the gathering, the Coordinator of Abuja Metropolitan Management Councils, (AMMC), Tpl Umar Shuaibu, noted that the Gosa Market is situated at the Wawa District, Zone E, of Abuja, and was allocated since 2006. During the period, the Coordinator noted, AMMC was to relocate the market lying 500 meter away from the Airport Expressway and sitting on people’s plots to a more convenient place.

Tpl Shuaibu stressed that due to uncontrolled expansion, pedestrian paths and service lanes became part of the market. It became a nuisance to road users as the place became inundated by commercial vehicles. Refuse dumps began to mount and the road began to witness cases of recklessness on the use of the roads.  It was for this reason that a new site was earmarked which had a capacity of 1500 traders and parking space for 500 cars as against the present one that was estimated at 500 traders but has since spilled beyond its bounds.  

In his submission at the meeting, the Director, Department of State Securities, Malam Ado Muazu noted that road blockage on the slightest provocation has become a trend among the youths of the area. He stressed that this must stop and cannot be negotiated. The DSS boss recalled that the same thing happened when a community on the same road had an issue with the airport authorities. The youths, he noted, took the laws into their own hands and blocked the road.  He said that the DSS authorities has met with people and has obtained assurances that this would not happen again.

The Chairman, Abuja Municipal Area Council, Malam Abdulahi Adamu Candido, at the meeting, conveyed his apologies to the government, residents and victims of the fracas.  He thanked the FCT Minister for the far-reaching measures being adopted to stem the degeneration of the Airport road and to provide alternatives for the people. “This has been our prayer for some time now,” he noted.

Cosmas Uzodinma
Chief Press Secretary. 

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