After about three years of legal muscle flexing, the Wuye Ultramodern Market in Abuja has finally opened for business, with traders who genuinely paid through due process taking over their shops amid tight security.
At the market on Saturday, it was a beehive of activities as shop owners commenced full blown business transactions.
When reporters visited the market, traders were seen transacting businesses, while genuine owners have taken full possession of their shops, with many of them expressing gratitude that at last they are able to possess their property.
It was also observed that security had been beefed up, as fierce looking mobile police officers and other security agencies who mounted guards right from the market’s gate to strategic areas in the market conducted thorough security screening before allowing anybody into the place.
The farmers’ section of the market as well as those operated by meat and chicken sellers were in operation, with customers buying meat and chicken from the sellers, while shop owners were seen fixing their shops and loading their goods.
It was recalled that the contract for the construction of the ultra-modern market was awarded to All Purpose Shelter, under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, even as the Bakassi market traders were given provisional allocation letter by the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA).
Under the arrangement, a list of eligible allotees was given to the developer by the FCDA, and the allotees were asked to pay for the development of the market in three tranches, with the first payment being 50 per cent of the total sum and then the other 25 per cent twice.
While some of the market men and women, as well as shop owners complied with the arrangement, some aggrieved members didn’t, claiming that the FCT authority had promised to build them a new market without paying a penny, a development which led to a legal battle between the two parties after the market was completed.
A director of the market project developer, All Purpose Shelters Ltd, Mr Segun Balogun, who spoke to our correspondent at the market, assured of maximum security in the market, saying it was by God’s intervention that the market eventually opened for business.
Against the backdrop of the High Court judgement of the FCT, market men and women of the Wuye Ultra-Modern market in Abuja has regained the ownership of their shops lamenting the loss of over N9 billion within the period the case lasted.
Speaking to journalists during the verification process of the traders, one of the members of the legal team for the defendants, whose wife is also a shop owner, Mr Rotimi Ojegbili, revealed that shop owners paid between N3.2 million to N4.4 million to get a shop.
Ojegbili said, “We have lost billions of naira. If you look at what has happened, because you are looking at an investment of billions, more than N3 billion, through people’s contribution and all of that.”
and you are expecting that to generate in triple folds, so you are looking at N9 billion in generation of revenue and so on, which is what has been lost over the years.”