By Stanley Onyekwere
There is imminent serious crisis gradually heating up between landlords and operators of prayer houses and beer parlours, following the swelling uncontrolled geometric spread of mushroom churches and drinking joints within residential areas across the Territory.
Checks revealed that clear indications emerged following series of complaints from affected residents over the continued public disturbance by prayer houses and drinking joints located within residential areas as against the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, (AEPB) Act, which prohibits nuisance in the environment.
In particular, the AEPB Act 1997 Act No. 10 of 1997 Statutory Legislation Applicable Area of the FCT-Abuja stipulates that the Board has “duty to keep owned or occupied tenement clean, neat, keep grass low and trim, cut and trim flowers; keep drainage running through the tenement free from blockage.
“Provide adequate dust bin and sanitary convenience; must not dry cloths in front of the balcony or in front of his premises or on hedges or side walks, must not keep animals or birds likely to cause nuisance; must not use a residential premises for the sale of alcoholic drinks or as a restaurant or for other commercial activity.”
However, some of the affected residents who spoke about the situation, affirmed that if adequate and urgent steps are not taken by relevant Agencies and Departments of the FCT Administration, the development could snowball to a major crisis in the nation’s capital.
Expectedly, the affected residents also accused some Agencies of the Administration of not rising up to the occasion despite official complains, while calling on the FCT Administration to step into the issue with a view to averting crisis in the future.
One of the affected residents of Nyanya in Area ‘B’, of the Abuja Municipal Area Council, Mr. Joseph Shauib, said a Prayer House located at plot 127, Nyanya Area ‘B’ near Dubys Suite has constituted nuisance to all the neighbourhoods, even as he stressed that all efforts made by affected residents have proved abortive.
He revealed that he has petitioned all the relevant agencies and departments in the FCT Administration to correct the abuse of land use, describing the situation as highly disturbing.
“It is a terrible situation in this neighbourhood for those of us in Area ‘B’ whenever this prayer House organises an event.
“I don’t know how best to tackle this knotty issue because there is no agency in FCT Administration I have not communicated but to no avail.
“I am a Christian, but I have not seen this form of Christianity anywhere. They will start prayers from 6.00pm till dawn not minding other people’s faith.
“To be precise, I have written to AEPB, Development Control and FCT Call Center to step into the matter, but it seems the various agencies are helpless in this case. And I pray that this situation will not result to serious crisis,” Shauib stressed.
Another affected residents who simply gave her name as Mrs. Beatrice Onah, of Aco/AMAC Estate, noted that the uncontrolled huge increase of drinking joints within residential area may lead to clashes between landlords and operators of beer parlours.
According to her, a drinking joint located at Aco/AMAC Estate, after the roundabout along phase 11, immediately after Great Talent Star Colleage has been in operation for the past three months, and as a result residents within the neighbourhood have murdered sleep.
“For three months now, we have murdered sleep in this neighbourhood because of the loud music from the drinking joint. To worsen the situation, the area has suddenly becoming a safe place for prostitution and smoking.
“Our children are daily exposed to these vices and it is not good for their future,” she stated.