By Paul Efiong, Abuja
Business operators along Oladipo Diya expressway, at Gaduwa District and Durumi have decried losses worth millions of naira during Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) clean- up exercise.
The traders made this known at the exercise carried by the AEBP enforcement squad aiming at keeping the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) clean.
Mrs Meena Ibrahim, Manager, Sushee Bush Bar operating at Gaduwa District, said she had lost property worth millions to the AEPB operation, adding that there was no prior notice given to her to serve as a warning before embarking on the exercise.
She said: “I was never given any prior notice to serve as warning to this exercise; it is just a surprise thing when I received distress calls from my neighbours as I was preparing to come out.”
Another business operator, Mr Emenike Iyidiobi, Managing Director, EMME Block Industry, explained AEPB served people operating business at the area with one week notice before the commencement of the exercise.
Iyidiobi, who according to him, has lost blocks worth millions of naira, further explained that he was confused on what to do, having invested all the money he had to mule the blocks.
He said: “The AEPB came here and informed us about the cleaning exercise of the nation’s capital as their routine works entail.They even came back on Friday evening to announce the exercise and told us to clear our belongings.”
Also, Mr Ojo Mathew, Vice Chairman, Nigeria Automobile Technician Association, Durumi Unit, who spoke on behave of the mechanics operating at the area admitted the fact that they were served with a warning notice by the AEPB.
Mathew, however, said that the Minister of FCT, Alhaji Muhammadu Bello made a promise to establish a mechanic site for all the mechanics operating by the road side before any demolition of mechanic shops could take place.
He said: “Sometime ago we complained before the FCT minister, he promised to relocate us to a mechanic site at Wasa in Apo village before any other demolition can take place.
“We agree that Abuja should be kept clean as the nation’s capital, we are still pleading with the minister to fulfil his promise so that we can also contribute to the cleanliness of the city, “ he said.
In his responds, Alhaji Baba Lawan, Director of AEPB said one week notice was served to all the places that were demolished.
Lawan added that the exercise was a normal routine clean-up to ensure that the nation’s capital was kept to its desired design.
According to him, the illegal construction of car wash, illegal settlement, block industries, batchers among others on the highways had defaced the design of the FCT.
The director said the exercise was aimed at sensitising the residents and to discouraging people from building structures on the highways.
Corroborating Lawan, Mr Mukhtar Galadima, Director, Development Control, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council, explained that the clean-up exercise was aimed sensitising the residents of Abuja on the need to keep the city clean.