By: Wisdom Acka & Onakpoma Favour
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has closed down Garki International Market to forestall epidemic, vowing it will not be reopened till the traders heed to the sanitation guidelines.
Senior Special Assistant to the FCT Minister on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement, Ikharo Attah, stated this when he visited the market with Director, Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), Osilama Braimah to evaluate the current nature of the environment.
He regretted that there has been no improvement on poor sanitation status of the market despite being shut down since Friday.
“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’s still bad. We sealed it since last Friday, so by now there’s supposed to be some signs of seriousness on the part of traders”, he berated.
Corroborating, Braimah explained that the Board was keen on reopening the market but was not satisfied with its present level of hygiene.
His words: “This is about my fourth visit to the market, but it is still in deplorable state, very filthy. We are planning to reopen the market but looking at what is on ground, it is not possible, hopefully it will be in few days to come”.
Rescuing, some traders in the market expressed willingness to cooperate with the authorities, even as some cited litigation as part of the challenges.
Umar Hamza, a tailor in the market while pleading for mercy, revealed that the heaps of refuse have accumulated due to the traders refusal to pay the current service charge imposed by Abuja Market Management Limited, calling on the FCTA to come to their rescue since they have already lost billions to the few days of closure
Another trader, Daniel Kalu said: “We have even started the clean up of the market. All the refuse dumps have been reduced a little as a result of our clean up exercise.
“Why we stopped was because of Court issue. You know some of our people went to Court because they consider the service charge placed on us to be too much, so they want Abuja Market Management Limited to reduce charges, but I can confirm to you that they have gone to the Court to withdraw the case”.
He also pleaded with the authorities to reopen the market, pledging that they would complete the clean up soon”.