The Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, on Monday close down indefinitely Olajumoke Akinjide Plaza Dutse-Alhaji, Abuja, over alleged illegalities in the market.
Ihkaro Attah, Senior Special Assistant to FCT Minister on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement, who led the operation lamented the rate of alleged contravention which include incriminate dumping of refuse in the market.
”We order the indefinite closure of Olajumoke Akinjide Plaza Dutse-Alhaji because of extreme contraventions which we have noticed a couple of weeks ago.
”It is very offensive refuse which is not properly collected, so much attachment at several corners, the drains not distilled, the drains were like dump site.
”We had to shut it down as instructed by the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, pending the time the environmental challenges in the market, the illegal attachment, refuse collection are addressed.
“And when next we come here and we are convinced they have done the needful we will reopen it.”
“But they assured us that they want to start the work now and they will be done quickly and we will come and check it for reopening but for now the market is closed indefinitely,” he said.
The minister’s aide, however, commended traders at the main Dutse-Alhaji Market for cleaning the market.
“You can see traders at the main Dutse-Alhaji market coming in their numbers to clean their shops and the environment in preparation for the reopening of the market on Tuesday,” he said.
On his part, the Secretary FCTA Command and Control Centre, Peter Olumuji, decried the increase in crime rate in the market.
”Aside from the environmental issues that we noticed in the market, the crime rate is gradually increasing, structures that criminal elements can stay and hide are being put on ground.
”And some of them even sleep over in these makeshift attachments.
“Shop owners have been complaining about thefts, part of what we are doing is to remove all those hidden places and attachment,” he said.
Meanwhile, a shop owner who did not want her name mentioned accused the management and executive of the market of selling the illegal spaces to petty traders and collecting money from them.
But Mr Chigozie, a shop owner in Dutse-Alhaji Main Market commended the FCTA for the cleanup, but appealed to the administration to provide an alternative space for the petty traders.