he Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), in collaboration with security agencies, have commenced arrest of hawkers, commercial workers, corporate beggars, and other illegals in FCT city centres.
Dr Hassan Abubakar, Director of AEPB, disclosed this while briefing newsmen on Thursday, in Abuja.
Abubakar said that the board would be collaborating with the Nigeria Police Force and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), to ensure that the exercise was effective and successful.
He said that the board would commence the exercise from the pedestrian bridges at Nicon Junction, up to Dede, down to other city centres in the FCT.
“This is a very important exercise, a very special clean-up; we are going out for, exercises that come across all the department of the board.
“We are going to remove all the rubbish on the road, the waste, illegal traders at the pedestrian bridges, corridors of the roads and streets.
“It is a very basic assignment; we are going to observe gutters, if there is any waste, our contractors will remove them because they have been paid for that.
“The Federal Capital City must be clean, that is our target and we must achieve it.
“We are also going to look at beggars that are on the streets, particularly those commercial workers moving at night along the Nicon Junction, Amingo Super Market at Wuse II, our people are ready to arrest them’’.
Abubakar said that the board had earlier written many warning letters to the people engaging in such illegal activities about the exercise, using the media and other means to reach them.
He, however, said the people had refused to acknowledge the warnings and heed the board’s advice.
According to him, the board has a mobile court where offenders will face prosecution after arrest.
“We have been warning them not to sell in those areas; we have markets where they should sell their goods.
“Markets where they do not even need to pay for any shop, because there are spaces made available for them to use.
“They can only have their small kiosk or umbrellas at those points, but they have refused to obey the law,’’ he said.
Abubakar, however, urged members of the public, which he said were encouraging such illegal activities by patronising the hawkers, to support AEPB`s campaign.
His words: “Some of these hawkers are into so many evil acts, they will carry items less than N1,000 from morning to evening, in the midnight they will be moving around people`s compound looking for what to steal.
“Some of these hawkers are criminals, when we arrest them and search their pockets we will discover a lot of weapons, they are not just hawkers, the public should stop encouraging these criminals.
“Let us join hands and fight this evil to better our country and make our city the cleanest and healthiest place, to attract international businesses and bring about development in the country.’’
Mr Kakar Bello, Deputy Director, Monitoring and Enforcement Unit of the board, said that the exercise was to show more commitment in ensuring that these illegal activities come to an end in the FCT city centres.
Bello said that the board had been carrying out the exercise for some time, adding that the people were being stubborn and had refused to abide by the board`s directives.
“We are ready and committed to ensure that we keep arresting the hawkers, as well as confiscating their items.
“When we arrest them, we take them to our court for prosecution and the goods we collect from them will be given to charity.
“It is a daily activity, we want to make sure we clear all the illegal hawkers in the city centres, that is our target and we must achieve our goal,’’ he said.