Abuja newspapers face extinction as authorities swoop on distributors
Newspaper circulation in Abuja and indeed their survival suffered a major setback on Monday as distribution centres came under a heavy attack by authorities of the Abuja Development Control (ADC).
Officials of the agency were alleged to have destroyed the distribution ground at Area 1 in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) without prior notice. Properties, running into millions of naira, were reportedly destroyed.
Addressing newsmen after assessing the level of loss, the president of Abuja Newspapers Distributors Association (ANDA), Joshua Orogun, bemoaned the action. Orogun told The Guardian that the association had a meeting with the Director of ADC, Muktar Galadima, two weeks ago where an agreement was reached that the distribution centre would not be touched.
“We reached an agreement that the Development Control would come up with the design of a structure to be built in the premises. I feel sad and heart- broken that we could be treated like criminals,” he lamented.
Following a request for his response to the demolition, Galadima said through a text message that the exercise was an error, saying: “I am aware of the demolition of the attachments and watchers. The demolition of the vendors shed was a mistake.”
He confirmed holding a meeting with the executive members of the Association whom he promised to help with a better arrangement. “Please inform them to see me later,” he said.
Orogun disclosed that the association was expecting the design to enable them complete the building and fencing only for the agency to storm the centre with armed policemen and bulldozers to demolish the place.
He revealed that between 2000 and 2017 when the newspapers distributors arrived the place, the Association had spent above N14 million to develop and maintain the ground.
“This place was a refuse dump and a hide-out for criminals. We transformed and made it what it is today. This action is not only reckless, it is inhuman and insensitive,” he said.