The Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) on Friday, sealed up the Garki International Market in Abuja over accumulated refuse dumps that might cause an epidemic outbreak.
The Director AEPB, Mr Osi Braimah, condemned the break down of law and order in the market.
“Our environmental officers in carrying out their routine/monitoring activities by April 26, discovered that the market was in a bad shape.
“Solid wastes, cabbages all over the place, bleeding sewage lines and heaps of refuse dumps were all over the market.
“We served them an abatement notice unfortunately nothing was done,” Braimah said.
The director noted that the non challant attitude of the market users made the board to seek a court order to seal the market.
“So, we simply went to the court for an order to seal up the market, so that everything can stop, until it is cleaned up.
“We derive no joy in shutting down the market but we will be failing in our responsibilities if we allow them to continue.
“As it is now, if we allow them to operate, it is a recipe for epidemic outbreak,” he worrie.
The director frowned at the deplorable state of the market saying, “they cannot have these activities side by side with filth”.
“A market is where fresh foods and vegetables are sold, you cannot have all these side by side with cabbages
“An epidemic is far worst than not selling your potatoes for a couple of days.
“Once they clean up the market we will reopen because the court order says the order subsists, so long the market remains in that condition,” Braimah noted.
“It came about that some traders went to court to challenge the increase in service charge we proposed.
“It is regrettable that none of the market officials have engaged us on the increased service charge, we just needed to serve them better.
“For instance if you want your diesel to run for 10 hours instead of five hours you are going to pay higher,” he said.
Amaechina said that as law abiding organisation they had to restrain themselves.
“if they are in court invariably they are saying we should not enforce the collection of service charge hence the service providers withdrew their services.
Amaechina said that although, “while the matter has been in court some officials of the market have continued to engage them.
“The meeting is being held right away to meet on a middle ground, to address all the infractions being raised by AEPB.
“We are addressing the problems raised by AEPB and let’s say in some hours we would have reached an agreement and the market would be reopened,” he assured.
The refuse dumps had gathered there for three weeks to one month ever since the service providers withdrew their services.
As at press time the manager of the Garki International Market was still in the meeting with relevant stakeholders to address the issues.
All the traders attested that this was the first seal up of its kind and worried over the condition of their perishable items.