Zuba International market traders shutdown over shop revocation

Zuba International market traders shutdown over shop revocation

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Traders in Zuba International Market, Gwagwalada area council, in the nation’s capital, Abuja, known as Zuba International Main Market Traders Association, on Tuesday shutdown the market over revocation of over 300 of their shops and plans to revoke more by a developer, Lion Property Consult Ent Ltd and Gwagwalada area council.

This is as the traders say they have paid for their verification and validation done by the developer between the year 2022/2023 for a five year term but were yet to given their allocation papers.

The traders who shut down the market for almost the whole day said they were in discussions with the developer and officials of the area council but nothing positive is coming out of such discussions but only threats and intimidation.

Secretary of the traders, Olumakinju Peter told newsmen that; “It is worthy to bring to your notice that we just paid for Verification and Validation which was done by the developer between the year 2022 / 2023 for a five (5) year term. Few months after the successful exercise we received a message confirming the revocation of over 300 shops and warehouses without giving any reason, claiming Gwagwalada area council has ceded its powers over the market to him under a signed PPP agreement that empowers him to do anything with the shops in our market. All letters, calls, round table discussions and personal engagement to further discussion on his assignment has been entertained with different degrees of threats and aggression.

“We refer to the last crisis that happened in the market late last year 2023, when the same developer came into the market unannounced and started removing the roof of shops stocked with valuables, before he was later stopped by the Area council that engaged him. After the intervention of relevant stakeholders.

“We have followed up on the Gwagwalada area council with letters, calls and close door meetings to get the details and scope of the developer’s engagement so as to understand and mobilize our members for necessary support. In all correspondence, the Gwagwalada area council promised to give the traders a thorough breakdown of the scope of the developer’s engagement before any structural adjustment is made to existing structures.

“In an emergency meeting summoned on the 6th of June, 2024 by the Gwagwalada Area Council which looked like an ambush to the association executives, had in attendance the Heads of security agencies, committee members of PPP Markets/Parks and the Developer, It was declared to us and I quote “the Gwagwalada area council have come to the conclusion that the developer should resume back to site” without addressing any of our concerns, transactions, petition and inquiries as regards his scope of engagement and authorization in the market as well as the MOU signed between the developer and the council.

“However, the council directed the developer to carry the association along in any of his planned activities in the market and ensure he doesn’t touch any of the existing shops until all our concerns are addressed.

“But now, he is going contrary to the instructions of the area council painting  our shops without our consent. With a wide spread of information around the market, it is rumored that the developer has connived with some personnel of the area council, so that after the painting, he will claim the renovation and upgrading of the market is completed and will be given full control of the market, after which he will revoke all the allocations in the market and make every shop occupier to pay an exorbitant price of Five Million Naira (5,000,000).”

As at the time of filing the report, efforts to reach the vice chairman of the council, who is the leader the PPP proved futile since he did not pick up calls nor reply to messages sent to him.

When contacted, the developer, Agu Okechukwu Samuel, told Nigerian Tribune that; “Gwagwalada area council is the owner of that market, the traders are tenants, they are a rebel group, the have a chairman, you can ask him.

“They have written to the area council many times to come and renovate the market, now that we are doing that, they are complaining, talk to their former chairman, I call him because they obtained a court order restraining him from parading himself as chairman of the association.”


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