By Stanley Onyekwere
As part its reinvigorated efforts towards ensuring proper waste disposal and collection in the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), officials from environment department of the council, yesterday sacked hundreds of roadside traders around the popular Kurudu market, for allegedly operating illegal markets and dumping refuse along the Jikwoyi -Karshi expressway, in the area.
The AMAC officials, accompanied by personnel of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, with security backing from the naval guards, stormed the area and demolished shanties and other illegal structures along the busy axis.
The places ffected were those overtaken by activities of roadside dealers in food stuff, beverages, building materials, and food vendors.
During the exercise, the officials however allowed some of the affected personsto savage what they could from their hitherto shops, before demolishing the structures and catering some abandoned wares away.
Meanwhile, many of the affected persons complained that there were taken aback by the exercise, as they were not adequately notified on the clean- up exercise.
They however appealed to the government to always embark on such exercise with human face, as most of them involved in street trading do so, as the only easy and available means of catering for themselves and families.
But, while speaking to newsmen, after the exercise, HOD of Environment, AMAC, Hajiya Maimunatu Abubakar, decried that despite the education, awareness campaigns against unhealthy sanitation practice, yet residents and traders in the area are bent on dumping refuse along the road, thereby causing environmental nuisance in the area.
According to her, there are about two places as designated place for waste collection located near the Kurudu cemetery, but residents would rather they prefer dumping their refuse on the road especially at night time.
“We have been pressuring them; educating them as well as creating a lot of awareness on the issue, so as to ensure that they take their waste to appropriate collection point at the cemetery in the area. So now we are going to continue mounting pressure on them until they start dumping their waste at the appropriate place.
“We are going to clear the whole shanties everywhere along the major road and then we are going to make it a point of duty to go round and make sure that they dump their refuse at the appropriate place, she stressed.
On whether the exercise will be carried out on other places, she says; “we are just starting, but after Kurudu we are going Orozo; from there, we are going to Gidan Mangoro and proceed to Karshi , and then return to Jikwoyi.
“We have licensees that are going round and collecting waste from peoples’ homes in the area, but why we are having problems is because of existence of illegal markets operating along the road.
“We have a permanent market that we have been telling them to take their trades into, which was created for them by the area council, but the prefer to trade along the road where vehicles are passing, so that they can make brisk sales in the area.”