Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
The Federal Capital Territory Administration on Saturday pulled down Abuja’s biggest graphics design and printing hub, the UTC Shopping Complex, over 30 years after it came into existence.
According to Administration officials, the sprawling complex had to be demolished to give way for reconstruction to fit into a model required to grow SMEs to address global business needs and challenges.
A Deputy Director, of Monitoring and Inspection, Department of Development Control, Hassan Ogbole said the structures were defective and there was a need to upgrade them to the standard that will meet global business standards.
Ogbole noted that provisions had been made for the traders and other occupants of the complex to enable reconstruction of the place.
He also stated that adequate notices were served on the occupants of the place to enable them to move out and allow the construction to start, but many of them deliberately refused to move out.
He said; “The place is in a state of disrepair. It is no longer habitable for occupation and business activities. The place has to give way for a new development.
“The company handling the development has informed Development Control and we are here to enforce compliance. We have given them enough notice for them to remove their goods, to enable us to start the work”.
Also Speaking, the Secretary, Command and Control, FCTA Department of Security, Peter Olumiji said demolishing the Complex was also needed to contain the security challenges in the area.
Olumiji noted that apart from restructuring the place to meet global standards, there was a need to nip criminal activities prevalent in the place.
According to him, it had become imperative to remodel the place to rid it of elements that engage in faking official documents.
One of the traders in the complex, Samuel Onuchukwu, said the traders and other occupants were worried because the temporary site provided by the developers, was not secured for business.
Onuchukwu disclosed that many of the traders were yet to remove their goods and property from the shops and offices.
According to him, they woke up early in the morning on Saturday to learn that the whole UTC area had been barricaded, and demolition was ongoing, while their wares were still trapped.