Home Feature Abuja: A city with swarming hawkers but empty malls

Abuja: A city with swarming hawkers but empty malls


Looking at the amount of hawkers on the streets of Abuja, one will wonder why so many shopping malls and plazas around the city are unoccupied.

Findings by Viewpoint Housing News revealed reasons many of the these good looking malls and plazas located in promising areas of Abuja like Maitama, Central Business District, Wuse, Garki, Asokoro, Gwarimpa, Utako, Jabi are not occupied.

It is said that shopping malls and plazas are empty due to the high cost of rent and the urge of developers to recoup their investments in a short time.

Charles Ebiai stated that other factors are poor location and lack or not good facility management.

Hawkers are everywhere in Abuja

Cosmas Udinma, chief press secretary to the FCT minister told Viewpoint Housing News that government restriction in construction ends once a building is completed. According to him, property owners are at liberty to fix premium on their assets, adding that whether they are occupied or not government has little or nothing to do. He said the social development secretarial of FCTA as well as Abuja environmental protection board are tackling the menace of hawking in Abuja

An estate agent who pleaded anonymity identified harsh economic situation in the country and the greed of owners who want to recover all the money they put in the structure in one year.

“Going by the financial position of people in the country, you will know that many are living from hand to mouth, just to survive. Traders want to rent shops in order to showcase and sell their goods but due to this high rent, they can’t rent such shops,” the agent stated.

Chris Onuwa who sells clothes at Barnex Plaza, Wuse II pleaded with government to come to the aid of traders that rent malls and plazas so they stay in business.

He described the relationship between rent seekers and shop owners as “monkey dey work baboon dey chop” (meaning traders are toiling while property owners are reaping).

“Because it is obvious that we just work for malls and plazas’ owners. By the end of the year, we carry all our savings just to pay for shop rent. We haven’t spoken about paying house rent, children’s school fees and food to eat and so on.  The government needs to do something as soon as possible before it gets worse than this.”

Speaking on the matter, a manager in New Barnex Plaza, Wuse II said it is difficult taking rent from tenants, stressing that many hardly pay service charge and utilities.

At the Sliver Bird Galaria located in the Central Business District, Mrs Grace Tavershima Ayam who owns a cosmetic shop there stated that her rent is paid biennially and it’s a colossal sum of money.

“No shop here goes for less than N2 million a year, so we pay N4 million as rent. With the current situation in the country, we all know that such amount of money is not easy to come by and that’s a major reason why most people can’t rent shops here. I am appealing to the Minister of Works and Housing to do something about this issue,” she appealed.




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