Build more markets outside FCT to curtail congestions, gov’t charged

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By Ekuson Nw’Ogbunka
Abuja

The Civil Engineer who built the A rea One Neighborhood Centre , Garki , engineer Alfred Ozoemena, who doubles as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Kizito Bookshops Nigeria Limited in the neighbourhood centre, has advised the government in power to decongest FCT markets by building more outside the cities.

He spoke to our correspondent recently in his Abuja office.

He said: “Government can build more markets. They can decentralise, instead of building additional structures within the market. They can go and build shops outside there, so as to decongest the City Centre, because it is not a must that everybody should trade in the city.”

Insisting on the decongestion and decentralisation of the markets, as well as faulting the way the neighbourhood centre he built has been distorted beyond its original plan, he said: “I was the one who built this Neighborhood Centre in 1980. As a civil engineer, I did my youth service in Sokoto and did a project with Zuru Construction Company at the Sokoto University and the company employed and brought me here in 80s.

“So our first project was this Area 1 Neighbourhood Centre, not a shopping complex. In a neighborhood centre, you have a clinic, shopping mall, market, toilet, post office and it was designed to serve the neighborhood in this Area 1, Section 1.

“This area that has been demolished and given to five people, was meant for tennis court and swimming pool, for people around here to while away after work.”

Frowning at the level of distortion in the FCT, he ssid: “Originally, this neighborhood centre was under the management of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), that built it and rented the shops to people.The area AMAC is managing now, was reserved for swimming pool and table tennis courts. Although under FCDA, but Abuja Market Management Limited (AMML) is managing it for them now. They are managing the one in Area 3, which they gave to Urban Shelter and it has been demolished, rebuilt and given out. They are equally managing Area 2 and the recently demolished Area 7 (UTC).

“This isn’t the only distortion we have here, in Abuja, because Shagari’s Mosque in Area 1, Section 2 was supposed to be a secondary school. When the then President Shehu Shagari came to Abuja and there was no place of worship, it was converted into a place of worship. The place where the police are occupying was supposed to be a shopping mall and when Shagari came to Abuja, it was converted to a hospital and that was the first hospital in Abuja.

“Distortion everywhere; the high rising shopping complex standing there, was given to AMAC to erect them and the ground was left to serve as a car park. That ground, they have built lock up shops and and sold out. Customers may not see a space to park their cars and it may affect everyone, because people will find an alternative.”

Enjoining the government to convert things into their proper uses, he said:”There is a lot of congestions here and if the market managers want to do something, let them open the spaces for traders to have a space to do business freely. When the congestion started, the managers said due to the economic situations in the country, they had to allow those who had been trading along the roads to stay here. I managed to have my window here, because I insisted, otherwise they would have rented out the space”

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