By G9ija

Sen. Gbenga Ashafa, Managing Director, Federal Housing Authority (FHA), on Thursday handed over the site of the six acres Mechanic Village/Market in FESTAC Town to the artisans.

Speaking during the handing-over ceremony at the new site on 6th Avenue, FESTAC town, Ashafa said that the event was in line with his promise to restore the lost glory of FESTAC town.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ashafa was represented by Mr Akintola Olagbemiro, FHA South-West Zonal Manager, at the handing over the site to the Nigerian Automobile Technician Association (NATA).

He expressed joy at the achievement of FHA’s age -long plan to resettle the mechanics in a comfortable permanent site.

“Let me quickly add that the place of mechanics, technicians, and artisans can never be underestimated in any society. Their overall importance in any economy is not of low profile because of the essential nature of their trade.

“The value chain they add to the economy is quite enormous, owing to the many jobs and employment they create through service deliveries.

“We in FHA will do all we can within our reach to make you comfortable, relevant and organised,” he said.

He urged the leadership of NATA, FESTAC branch, to ensure orderly business premises and collaboration with all tiers of government and other stakeholders for peaceful coexistence.

“With the success of today, it has been officially declared illegal for any auto mechanic to operate in any other part of FESTAC Town.

“We also implore the auto mechanic/technician leadership to help relevant authorities concerned with the security and sanitation of FESTAC Town, by compelling all your members to avail themselves of this facility,” he said.

Ashafa pledged continuous collaboration of FHA with the artisans and other stakeholders and thanked the FESTAC Town Residents Association, security agencies and other stakeholders for their patience.

He said that the FHA would liaise with the Amuwo Odofin Local Government and other stakeholders towards Right of Way (RoW) recovery.

Ashafa added that FHA surveyors had taken the measurements of the site for laying of the beacons on the new site.

The Chairman, Amuwo Odofin Local Government (AOLG), Mr Valentine Buraimoh, said the move would bring added development, not only to FESTAC Town, but to the entire community.

Buraimoh, however, noted that there was need to hold a stakeholders meeting to determine how the space allocated could be maximised.

“We need to get ideas and suggestions on how best we can use the space given to us,” he said.

NAN reports that NATA members, led by the immediate past chairman of the Amuwo Odofin Local Government (AOLG) Area, Mr Ayodele Adewale, marched in joy to the venue to take possession of the facility.

Adewale told journalists that he was overwhelmed with joy that efforts of his tenure to ensure that the artisans and traders take possession of the site allocated to them in the original Master plan of FESTAC Town, had become a reality.

The Chairman of NATA, Mr Yunusa Elekolomo said: “I am happy that finally this site that rightly belongs to us is being given to us today.

“Since the 70s, we have suffered a lot of encroachment on this land, we have suffered too much, I will say that today that we are taking possession is my happiest day,” he said.

Earlier, President, FESTAC Town Residents Association (FTRA), Mr Shola Fakorede, said that enough sensitisation and awareness campaign was carried out for residents and artisans to embrace the project which had become a reality.