Written by Austine ELEMUE

AMMC embarks on sensitization of artisans

Following the ministerial directive to relevant agencies to clean the city center, the Development Control Department under the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council, AMMC, has embarked on a seven-day sensitization of roadside traders, scrap dealers, squatters, illegal mechanic workshops, and tipper parks in Mpape, Asokoro, Mabushi, Kado Kuchi (Jahi), Daki Biu, Jabi and Utako Districts.
The sensitization exercise according to the Director of Development Control Department, Hamza Madaki, was aimed at interfacing with the affected people before carrying out demolition on their structures, even as he appealed for understanding of those to be affected by the clean-up exercise.
According to him, "if we tell them to remove their illegal structures by themselves, let them obey and remove the things. We are being very honest; we are not hiding anything. And in all the places we went to, they have shown a great level of cooperation, and the people even feel happy that we are coming to warn them before demolition.
"This sort of warning doesn’t happen before. If we give notice, we just come and do it. But now we had to go and meet them in their places-telling them that this thing is coming, so remove your things, so that we don’t come and destroy anything. I think it’s a step forward."
Speaking in the same vein, the leader of the sensitization team and Deputy Director in charge of Monitoring and Enforcement, Mr. Kuchume Bawa, noted that the government needs to regulate the activities of roadside traders, mechanics and other unskilled workers in the FCT.
"Unlike before, what we do is just move in and start carrying out removal of illegal structures, but now that is not what we do. We first dialogue with them (the affected people), so that we will now know what their problems are and the best strategy to be used to remove illegal structures. Despite the fact that we know the trade they engaged in is good one, it’s something that needs to be encouraged, but they are not supposed to practice it within an area that has been earmarked for different purpose," he noted. 
On addressing the complaints of the would-be affected persons, he said “As a department under the AMMC, one of our mandates is to remove all illegal structures, but we will look into their appeal for provision of an alternative place to take their trade to. We will come up with a report, which we will send to the appropriate authorities for further action."
Chairman, Gongon Cooperative Society, Abuja, an umbrella body of the scrap dealers (scavengers) in Mabuchi, Salisu Rabiu, appealed to FCT Minister for provision of land for unskilled workers to carry out their activities, just as he commended government recent approach of dialogue before demolition.

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