The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), on Tuesday said it would not reopen the Garki International market until traders complied with sanitation guidelines.
Mr Ikharo Attah, the Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement to the FCT Minister, stated this when he visited the market to reassess the state of the environment.
He was accompanied on the visit by Mr Osilama Braimah, Director, Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB).
The AEPB sealed Garki market over poor sanitation and inability of the traders to take necessary measures to keep to the desired standard set by the FCTA.
The minister’s aide lamented that despite the closure of the market on Friday, May 5, there were still heaps of refuse in different locations within the market.
Attah said that FCT minister Muhammad Bello was anxious to have a clean and safe Abuja hence the quest for necessary steps to uphold standards.
“The present stage of Garki market is a disaster waiting to happen; we have gone round the market to check the level of sanitation but it is still bad.
“We sealed it since last Friday, May 5, so by now there should have been some signs of seriousness on the part of traders.
“AEPB has acted in line with ministerial directives; any part of Abuja, be it market, school or office must be kept clean.”
Collaborating, the AEPB boss, Braimah said the board was keen on reopening the market but was not satisfied with the level of hygiene.
“This is about my fourth visit to the market, but it is still in a deplorable state, very filthy.
“We are planning to reopen the market but looking at what is on the ground, it is not possible, hopefully it will be, in few days to come.”
Reacting, a tailor in the market, Umar Hamza, confirmed that the market had been shut in the last five days due to uncleanliness, but pleaded for mercy.
“AEPB shut the market about five days ago, we pleaded for more time in order to clean and evacuate the wastes.
“The wastes have accumulated due to the traders’ refusal to pay the current service charge imposed by Abuja Market Management Limited.
“We are appealing to FCT administration to understand our pains. We have lost a huge amount of money in the last few days over the closure.”
Another trader, Mr Daniel Kali said: “We have started the clean up of the market; all the refuse heaps have reduced.
“Why we stopped was because of a court issue; some of our people went to Court because they considered the service charge placed on us to be too much.
“So, they want Abuja Market Management Limited to reduce the charges, but I can confirm to you that they have gone to the Court to withdraw the case.”