From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Over 150 motor mechanics have so far been displaced at the Barnawa area of Kaduna by the state government following the expiration of a quit notice issued by the Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Authority (KASUPDA) to vacate their workshops.
The affected areas have been earmarked by the state government to develop shopping malls to approved standard specifications.
The quit notice came on the heels of the government’s efforts to build permanent sites for the mechanics in order to relocate them from the city centre.
To this end, the Automobiles Technicians Association (NATA) have purchased forms worth N1.5 million from KASUPDA as an expression of interest for the permanent sites.
The mechanics however lamented that it might take a long period of time for the state government to get the permanent sites ready along the major four highways leading in and out of the state capital.
Speaking in an interview with Daily Sun, the Chairman, NATA, Zone 11, Barnawa area of Kaduna City, Bayo Ande, said: ‘We are not happy over this quit notice because we were given only three days to move out of our workshops. This is where we have been operating for the past 20 years, only to be given three days to leave with immediate effect.
‘We don’t have anywhere to go for now, but we have been running around to get another place, and it is not easy to come by. We need six months quit notice, at least, to enable us to get another place.
‘Before now, we expressed interest in the new permanent sites for motor mechanics as advertised by the state government. We bought the Form from KASUPDA at N10,000.00 per person. We are 150 members in my zone, which is Zone 11, Barnawa.
‘KASUPDA officials said the state government will develop the permanent sites for all the motor mechanics in Kaduna. The sites are located in Millennium city, Kachia Road, railway station area of Rigasa, Zaria highway, Birnin Gwari highway and Abuja highway.
‘But as it is now, we are begging the state government to give us the empty land at the proposed sites to build them ourselves because we know that government will take a long time to develop those sites.
‘We cannot wait for too long because we have families to feed and any delay will be economically disastrous for us.
‘KASUPDA officials have not told us when the permanent sites will be ready. But we have erected our signboards on those sites.
‘However, we are appealing to the state governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, to allow us to move to the permanent sites and build them ourselves because we don’t have money to give to developers. We cannot afford a huge amount of money for developers.’
Recall that in November 2020, the state government stated that it would relocate all motor mechanics from the metropolis to four designated mechanic villages on the outskirts of the city in order to reduce the incidence of repairing broken-down vehicles on major roads.
The Corps Marshall of Kaduna State Traffic Law Enforcement Authority (KASTLEA), Major Garba Yahaya Rimi (retd), who disclosed this at the end of Year Town Hall sensitisation programme on road safety measures said that the activities of the mechanics often caused traffic congestion.
The Corps Marshall who reiterated the state government’s efforts to ensure road safety said that the proposed mechanic villages would be located at Kaduna-Abuja highway, Kaduna-Zaria highway, Kaduna-Kachia highway and Kaduna-Birnin Gwari highway.
Major Rimi said that there was a synergy between the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and KASTLEA in traffic management within and outside the Kaduna metropolis.
‘Ideally, the responsibility of evacuating broken down vehicles from the road within Kaduna town is ours. The Federal Road Safety Commission(FRSC) deals with vehicles that block the highways. But we collaborate, especially if heavy-duty vehicles are involved, we seek the assistance of FRSC because they have bigger towing vans,’ Rimi said.