By Stanley Onyekwere
The Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) has advised residents and visitors alike to stop patronising street hawkers in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Making this point, the AEPB official, who is in charge of Monitoring and Enforcement at the Board, Hassan Abubakar, who spoke in a recent chat with the media in his office, noted that many of the street hawkers are criminals in disguise.
Abubakar noted that one of the challenges facing the Department is the attitude of some members of the public, who often attack staff of the department for arresting hawkers, adding that poverty should not be an excuse for hawking on Abuja streets.
He revealed that in recent times, some of the street hawkers, who were arrested by the department in parts of the city, have turned out to be car snatchers and armed robbers, while some are on the streets to carry out surveillance for criminals.
“Most of the hawkers on Abuja streets are criminals. They are not just selling these wares they hawk about, they are criminals. Some of them also use hawking to carry out surveillance for criminals.
“In recent times, we have arrested a lot of criminals, such as car snatchers, armed robbers and so many other criminals, among the hawkers.
“And that is why we are removing them so that this city will not turn into another thing.”
He attributed the increasing number of hawking on Abuja streets to patronage by members of the public.
He opined that both the sellers and buyers are equally committing the same offence.
He equally revealed that the FCT minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has given an approval for the opening of more informal markets in parts of the FCT to accommodate more street hawkers, so as to end hawking business on Abuja streets.