By: Oji Moses & Precious Demide
In a sustained effort to rid the Federal Capital City of criminal flash points, illegal structures and unsightly spots, the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, (AEPB), has carried out series of stint operations in parts of Garki, Gwarinpa, Dawaki and other districts of the Federal Capital Territory.
These operations which have revved up since September are at the instance of the Director of the Board, Engr. Osi Braimah, who has given express marching order to the Department of Monitoring and Enforcement that illegal structures, shanties, markets, refuse dumps and hide outs be cleared forthwith.
When contacted, Engr. Braimah said the Board has decided not to rest on its oars but apply the full weight of the Act establishing the Board as it seems residents do take pleasure in purposeful violation of environmental law and order.
“Many Nigerians take pleasure in disobeying laid down rules and regulations of the land with the mindset that nothing will happen even if they go against the laws of the land”, he said.
Answering question on whether his office do inform the occupants of these illegal places quit notices, Braimah said, ‘we do serve some months’ notices to the owners or occupants of these illegal structures to remove them and relocate to planned build up areas; but by the time we come for removal of such structures, we discover that they will still be there”, Braimah said.
The Director said if owners of some of the plots of land having these shanties have developed them, crime will reduce in the city as the illegal occupants would not be there anymore.
He, therefore, urged the owners to develop their plots of lands and put them into use for the purposes they were acquired for and not leave them vacant; reminding them also of the FCT Minister’s decision to revoke the allocations of such plots that have remained undeveloped for many years.
The Director remarked that the occupants of the COVID-19 Temporary market at Gimbiya Street, Area Eleven, Garki intends to convert it to a permanent place of business transactions and so have refused to move even after being served quit notices about two months ago.
Asked why the Board is removing these structures knowing they are occupied by citizens, the Director said, ‘these places forms flash points and hide outs for most criminal activities that take place in the FCT and so have to be removed as a measure to curb insecurity’.
Speaking earlier, the Head, Department of Enforcement and Monitoring and Task Team leader, Tpl. Kaka Bello, said to stop the occupants of the former COVID-19 Temporary Market from rebuilding it, the Transportation Secretariat, which is working in synergy with the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, will use the space for the ‘Park and Pay’ project of the FCT Administration after its demolition next week Saturday.
Some of the places visited today by the Task Force include parts of Area 11, Gwarinpa and Dawaki, behind Richland Academy where undeveloped plots of land were converted to shanties by some young ladies and artisans.