The Association of Shop Owners in UTC, Area 7, Abuja, has appealed to the FCT Administration to shelve its planned demolition of the shopping complex until appropriate conditions are met.
The Chairman of the Association, Godfrey Ojarikre, who made the appeal at a news conference on Friday, in Abuja said that the shop owners were not comfortable with the demolition plan.
Mr Ojarikre said the proposed remodeling plan being submitted by the Abuja Investment Company Ltd. did not take them into consideration.
He said that the UTC complex was built by individual members of the association, in accordance with the prototype designed by the FCT administration in 1992.
He added that the complex was one of the best entrepreneurial shopping centres providing jobs, and skill acquisition opportunities for thousands of youths in the city.
“Demolishing the UTC at this trying economic recession time is not only economically unwise but also dispossessing law-abiding citizens of their legitimate properties.
“If the remodeling must take place, all stakeholders should be accommodated as partners in progress on the negotiation table.
“This presupposes that every shop owner would be offered the first right of refusal over any new allocation.
“Moreover, the modalities geared towards the full and successful implementation of any new project will be jointly addressed by all stakeholders,” Mr Ojarikre said.
He stressed the need for seamless transition of every shop owner from his or her old shop, to a new one, on affordable long-term plants.