The Development Control department of the Federal Capital Territory on Tuesday demolished newspapers distributors’ stands and structures at Area one, Abuja.
The Abuja Newspaper Distributors’ Association said properties running into millions of naira were destroyed during the incident.
The union in a statement co-signed by its chairman, Joshua Orogun; and general-secretary, Emmanuel John, said it met with the Director of Development Control Department about two weeks ago where an agreement was reached about the construction plan for the distribution ground.
“We met the director about two weeks ago and an agreement was reached that we should continue to maintain the place and that Development Control Department would come up with the design of the structure we would build on the distribution ground,” the statement said.
The union explained that it was still expecting the building design from the department, only for it to unleash bulldozers and armed operatives on the newspaper distributors and vendors.
“We don’t want to believe that the director is part of this conspiracy, since we are already having a fruitful discussion with him. But if he is in the know, then it’s very unfortunate,” the newspaper distributors stated.
The group said it had spent over N14 million to develop and maintain the land since year 2000, noting that the plot was a refuse dump and a hideout for criminals before it was transformed.
It said: “This demolition is not only reckless, but it is inhumane and insensitive. If they insist on pushing us out, we will have no other option than to do our business on the highway.
“There are gardens scattered around Abuja being used for dubious and criminal activities, the Development Control Department should beam its searchlights on them and not on those doing legitimate business.”
When contacted, the Development Control Department’s spokesperson, Mrs. Grace Zamani, said she was on leave and could not comment on the incident.