Apo Mechanic Village relocation, Wike warns against allocation of shops to girlfriends, relations

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By Joyce Remi-Babayeju

As the FCT Minister, Barr. Nyesom Wike moves to resettle the popular Apo Mechanic Village to a permanent site after 25 years, he has warned the committee in charge of the relocation exercise against allocation of shops to girlfriends, and relations, instead of deserving traders.
He also warned officials against nepotism in the allocation of shops.

The FCT Minister dismissed speculations that the Administration had given a deadline for occupiers of the mechanic village to move out or risk demolition, adding that there was no such directive.

The relocation to the permanent site will score of auto technicians, spare parts dealers and other service providers being from the current road corridor where they operate to a more expansive site in Wasa district, a 15 minute drive from their current location.

While inaugurating a 19-member technical committee on the relocation of auto technicians from the present Apo village to Wasa, the minister who was represented by the Coordinator, Abuja Metropolitan Management Agency AMMC, Chief Felix Obuah said for years the technicians had lost hope and were afraid that the place could be demolished at any time.

He said that instead of embarking on any demolition, the Wike-led Administration has decided to first provide a better alternative and ensure an orderly migration before demolition the current site to pave the way for expansion of the roads.

Obuah said, “You will recall that sometimes two weeks ago, we had been waiting to see how we can relocate the Apo mechanic who had been operating on the right of way.”

“We have set up a technical committee to go into Wasa and Apo to enumerate who and who we are relocating. This is what we have done today, at the end of that we will be able to give accurate time when we are going to relocate them.”

“I have handed over some of the things they need, most of these people are still coming even as of now. When you think you have finished, others are coming they have over twenty, thirty thousand people, and we have to be sure that this number they are brandishing are actually existing.”

“We have to verify, open a database to make sure that everybody we are allocating is actually on the road corridor.”

“We are not doing this as a bazaar, so that those who have lost hope that they did not have anywhere to trade at the road corridor, right of way, we are now relocating them to a permanent place, removed from the road corridor.”

“It is the hope that was lost that Mr President through the Minister has restored but I am assuring you this thing will not take more than three months for all these things to be done.”

“It has to do with technical, engineering, allocation and resettlement so it is not a day’s work. We have to build a prototype that other people can also follow up. It is not an easy thing.”

“We want to make sure that Abuja wears its status as the capital of Nigeria and so the Minister gave an approval that those occupying the right of way should leave so that construction can start in that area.”

“As a man who has human feelings, he felt that there is no need moving in to chase the people without providing an alternative. It was on that note that a better place that can take care of this set of people was provided in Wasa.”

“In making sure that we relocate all of them, we invited them for a meeting and let them know our intentions. We cannot do that without also bringing the relevant teams who will help us to achieve this to make sure that there is no problem.”

“That is why we have decided to inaugurate a technical committee that will see to the efficient relocation of these people. That is why we have invited all the technical teams so they by the time we start, we will be able to handle any challenge they may arise.”

“We are inaugurating a 19 member technical team drawn from Development Control, Abuja Environment Protection Board AEPB and Urban Affairs.”

” Others are Resettlement and Compensation, General Counsel and Legal Services; Lands; Urban and Regional Planning, Mapping and Surveying, Finance and Administration, Directorate of Road Traffic Services DRTS/VIO among others.”

“The shops are not to be allocated to our girlfriends, our uncles, our sisters or relations. That is why the first term of reference is the enumeration of eligible persons.”

“We will do our best to ensure that the people are not shortchanged. We will develop a database for all the technicians and dealers there.”

“Some people said we have given a deadline for the traders to go away. That is not true. We haven’t given such deadline”, Obuah added.

According to him, the committee is to conduct enumeration of eligible Auto Mechanic-technicians/Dealers for possible Relocation to Wasa; Immediate preparation of the Relocation Site; Expeditious handling of compensation matters; Establishment of Demarcations/boundaries of the site; Identify Areas of Integration where necessary; and, Review of the Layout.

Chairman of the Committee, Malam Abubakar Makama said that the issue has been lingering for over 25 years without any solution and thanked the Coordinator for swinging into action within just three months in office.


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