From Fred Itua, Abuja
Aggrieved Traders of a popular market in Abuja, Kugbo International Market, have called on the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammad Musa Bello, to prevail on Abuja Investment Company Limited, to stop any act of land grabbing within the precincts of the market.
President of United Kugbo Market Traders Association for Building Material, Timber, Furniture, Mechanic and Cement, Prince Emeka Egwuekwe, President, in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja on Sunday, said a court of competent jurisdiction had already ruled in their favour.
Egwuekwe said the market union also has all the necessary papers, already approved by the FCT Administration. It wondered why an agency under the FCT Administration will want to embark on a journey of illegality that will not end well.
The statement read: “We’re aware of a statement jointly made by Abuja Investment Company Limited and MESOTHO Group Limited, which in our view and under whatever guise, contravened the FCT administration’s stance on land grabbing.
“In the said statement, carried in selected print and electronic outlets, the two organisations who spoke during a media tour of the disputed Kugbo International Market, made spurious ownership claim to the Kubgo commercial layout which was lawfully allocated to members of Mararaba Building Material Market; the Kubgo Market Traders Association for Timber, Furniture, Mechanic and Cement, by the FCDA.
“Ordinarily, we wouldn’t have bothered joining issues in a matter that the FCT high court in 2017, ruled in our favour, but because Abuja Investment Company Limited and MESOTO Group Limited threw caution to the wind by engaging in a media gimmicks which had all the trappings of advertisement aimed at hoodwinking prospective subscribers.
“While we urge the general public to be wary of their investment decisions as the Kugbo International Market is in dispute, we wish to therefore remind the minister of the FCT that having applied for the Kugbo commercial layout and got the approval of the FCDA and allocation in 2003, in 2017 when we applied for revalidation of the same layout, it was the FCT minister, His Excellency, Muhammed Musa Bello that approved and granted the revalidation.
“For the avoidance of doubt, it is on record that neither did MESOTHO who happened to be our developer until we parted ways after irreconcilable differences nor the FCT administration had challenged the judgment of the honorable court which ruled in our favour; and not surprisingly, the judgment was never set aside until the renewed attempt to grab the Kugbo commercial layout in 2020, with the backing of the FCT police command.
“It is also noteworthy that in December 12, 2021 and January 13, 2022, our members, took steps to caution the general public on the disputed Kugbo International market during an SOS procession, where we called on the FCT minister to dissuade Abuja Investment Company Limited and its co-travelers to vacate the Kubgo commercial layout.”