By Stanley Onyekwere
Development control department of the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC) is to seal-off 24 houses, for failing to redecorate and beautiful their homes and environment.
Some of the affected houses are located in Pategi, Bichi, Argungu and Iwopin Close all situated within Area 1, Garki, respectively, in Abuja.
This followed an order by a mobile court sitting in Garki, Abuja, at the weekend.
The magistrate, Jibril Kutigi, ordered the seal-off of premises of the defaulters for failing to appear before the court without any just cause.
According to the prosecutor, Barrister Arome Tokula, a total of 30 persons were summoned to the court for failing to redecorate their homes.
He said the offence was contrary to Section 35 1(e) of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) Act of 1997.
Tokula added that only six people out of the 30 showed up for the hearing.
According to him, five of the defaulters were found guilty of the charges and fined N5, 000 each while another defaulter, who was confined to a wheel chair, was reprimanded on compassionate ground and asked to comply within one week.
“Apart from being asked to pay N5, 000 every other person has been asked to comply within two weeks. That means they’re supposed to repaint their houses and report back same to the court on the next adjourned date which is September 27, 2014,” he added.
However, reacting to several claims by some residents that they were not served with the court summon, the head of aesthetics and amenities division of the department, Arc. Dominic Odenigbo, said that defaulters were duly notified.
“We served notices to every block physically; we went a step further by doing radio jingles and public announcements in order to avert the situation of people claiming that they didn’t know,” he clarified.
Speaking to newsmen, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Development Department, Mr. Kalu Emetu, explained that redecoration means everything involved in making the house look beautiful, not just putting painting on the wall.
“It involves plumbing work and all other things needed to add value to the building.
“Beautification has to do with painting, plumbing work, roofing; surroundings are all part of beautification,” he stressed.