I went to UTC (aka Area 7 Shopping Centre), our nearest market, yesterday. Unfortunately the demolition people had already been.
I don’t have any photos of UTC before the demolition, so I’ll try to describe it. It is a large building open at the sides with small concrete shops inside. In the alleys between the shops lots of small stalls had been built, mostly printers, tailors and electronics repairers. More small shops and stalls had been built around the outside of the building.
Now only the concrete shops inside are left, the rest is all gone. This is very inconvenient for me (I don’t know where my tailor has gone to) and a disaster for the people who worked (and often lived) at the stalls.
It’s all part of the continuing efforts to “clean up” the Federal Capital Territory. The problem is that many businesses, such as selling fruit and vegetables and tailoring, don’t bring in enough money to cover the huge rent on a shop. The result will be that prices in Abuja, already high, will increase further and life will become more difficult for the majority of the residents.
The people behind these schemes are civil servants and politicians on vast salaries who shop in supermarkets and don’t realise that they’re destroying the city rather than improving it. They’re removing the few things that brought any life to Abuja, leaving only a wasteland of rubble and dust between the exclusive shopping plazas.