The Federal Capital Territory Administration is at loggerheads with the automobile dealers at the popular Apo mechanic village in Abuja over the plan to demolish illegal structures in the village.
The FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello, had given traders and shop owners seven-day notice to remove their shops and abandoned vehicles in the affected area.
Bello said he was not comfortable with the illegal occupation of the area by the traders because it violates the Abuja master plan.
The Chairman of FCT Ministerial Task Force on City Sanitation, Ikharo Attah, who handed down the ultimatum on Monday. said the seven-day ultimatum was to demonstrate the administration's empathy and ensure that actions capable of causing colossal damages were avoided.
He stated that the illegal occupants were obstructing the ongoing construction work as well as defacing the environment.
Attah said the first phase of the sanitation exercise, billed to commence on Monday next week after the ultimatum, would reclaim all the spots from Apo round-about to the popular junction known as Apo NEPA junction.
According to him, the second phase of the aggressive sanitation will begin from the NEPA junction to APO mechanic village, where illegal businesses had taken over portions of the road, making it difficult for contractors to complete their work.
But some of the traders, who spoke to SaharaReporters, accused the FCT authority of double standard and for not providing them with a permanent location.
They accused the minister of victimization, saying the policy was targeted at destroying their businesses and vowed to resist such an attempt.
The traders claimed that the previous minister allocated the place for them.
A shop owner, who identified himself as Chimeze, said, "If this place is illegal so why are they collecting money from us. We are paying money to the FCT authority and area council.
“They have asked us to remove all our shops and abandoned vehicles but we are not going anywhere until they make an alternative location available to us. If they like, let them come with a machine gun."