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You can’t hold arbitrary protest, Wike tells Apo Village traders

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT),Nyesom Wike, has cautioned traders in Apo Mechanic Village against arbitrary protests without following due process.

Wike gave the warning while responding to the traders, who besieged the entrance of the FCT Administration Secretariat in Abuja on Thursday.

The traders had explained that the protest was to push the minister to sign the 2015 lease agreement with the FCTA to enable them to move to their permanent site at Wassa District.

Wike, who described the action as attempted intimidation, berated the protesting traders for not writing to his office to discuss the delay in implementing the lease agreement.

The minister said that there was no basis for the protest, alleging it might have been sponsored by unknown persons.

“Is this the way you support the government by barricading the road and obstruction of traffic without informing me of anything?

“You never wrote to me that you want to see me, and we refuse to see you.

Then what you will do is to wake up in the morning, barricade the road, barricade the gate and then you are saying you are supporting me?

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“Then I don’t need your support.

“What I don’t like is intimidation. If you have a problem, channel your problem to me and if I don’t solve it, then you can take another step,” the visibly furious minister said.

Wike pointed out that the lease agreement was entered into in 2015, adding that ministers have come and gone without the traders taking any step until now.

He asked the traders to go back and follow the due process to solve the problem.

“What you should do is write that you want to see me, then we will sit down and talk. I am not one of those ones anyone will come and intimidate.

“Barricading the road is what I don’t like. People coming to tarnish the image of government is not right when we can sit and dialogue.

“If the government had promised to give you land then I will look at the papers,” he said.

Earlier, the Chairman of the traders’ association, Mr Chimezie Ife, said his members were tired of waiting since 2006 to be allocated their permanent business environment, alleging that they have spent over N100 million.

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Ife explained the old Apo Mechanic Village was demolished in 2006, adding that the traders were promised a permanent location which never came.

He further said that the traders applied for land in 2011 but it was still not allocated despite the incurred expenses.

According to him, the protest was organised with the hope that Wike will help to address the lingering issue. (NAN)

Philip Yatai
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