In furtherance of efforts to curtail the activities of the vandals on the streets of the Federal Capital City (FCC), the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC) organized a consultative stakeholders Forum with the Associations of Bola bola (scavengers), craftsmanship, the Panteka (scrap dealers) in the nation’s capital.
Also, the Council explained that aside curbing vandalism, the parley was to improve the security situation in the Territory especially during this “ember’ period.
The Coordinator, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), Tpl Umar Shuaibu disclosed that stakeholders rubbed minds on protecting public infrastructure such as; streetlights, gully covers, manholes, bridge rails(kerbs) ,cables among others.
He noted that the meeting was timely, in order to chart the way forward and to solicit for their cooperation in exposing such hooligans.
According to him, the Council was able to discuss and advised the members of the Association of scavengers and scrap dealers to stop vandalizing public infrastructure in the Territory.
He specifically warned them that the FCT Administration in collaboration with the FCT Police Command is ready to deal with any offender caught stealing or destroying any public infrastructure.
He further warned the buyers of such stolen goods or items to stop or the law will catch up with them.
Shuaibu however assured them that the FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello has promised to allocate a befitting site for their craft in Wasa District, only if they cooperate with the authority.
He solicits their assistance to ride the city of vandals and restore the expensive infrastructure provided by the Government, a development which causes embarrassment not only to Abuja but the nation as a whole.
Furthermore, he emphasized the importance of every individual in turning the city into a green smart city with all the amenities working.
He reiterated that it is only through dialogue that idea and meaningful contributions are made towards effective city management and gradual restoration of the FCTMaster Plan.
Earlier, the Director, Facility Maintenance Management, AMMC Egr Awoniyi disclosed that early this year 4,000 manholes and 200,00 gully covers were stolen within Abuja city.
He said it has been observed that, when trying to replace the covers ,they were seen at the Panteka market, adding that means both the vandals and the buyers are in a network.
He assured them that hence forth such panteka markets will be held responsible giving the names of their suppliers.
Responding, leader of Panteka Association, Musbahu Abdullahi , denied the allegation that most of the vandals in the city are craftsmen.
According to him ,some other individuals not known roam along the street of the city at night in lorries, with heavy fire arms to remove all these bridge rails ,streetlights and even car batteries
He disclosed that their members only move in the day time to pick scraps,cartons,containers for the purpose of recycling.
He added that they are known for picking aluminum from dustbins for carving rake,pots ,stoves,hoes etc for sale to earn money as their own way of staying away from the unemployment cycle.
Abdullahi maintained that their members are duly registered under a duly registered body with Identification cards.
He reiterated that they are all vigilant about the movements of each other individuals with questionable characters and often send away.
According to him, “another characteristic of the scavengers is that the move mostly in the day time with trucks for packing their wares.
“They only help pick and separate waste from the bins while the’’ yaros ‘’(boys) mostly seen carrying sack at night are mostly the battery thieves.”
Furthermore,he revealed that the operations of genuine ‘baban bolas’ is between 5.30 am- 7pm.
He hinted that the Association will soon introduce colored reflective jackes with identified numbers for each member for identification according to Districts.
Similarly, the Chairman, Baban bolas in Jabi, Yusuf Baba Bala disclosed that the Association has seven (7) Branches in the FCT as well as 120,000 registered members.
Not left out, head, Deidei Panteka, Abdullahi Abdulwahab assured that once given their business space the issue of insecurity be a thing of the past, saying they are willing to support the security agencies to expose all persons associated with shady deals in the city.
Abdulwahil revealed that they are often threaten by men of the under world for exposing them.
To this end, he requested for Police coverage to be able to continue assisting in the fight against vandalism.
Also, the scavengers residing between Nyanyan bridge and Tiper garage requested for daily surveillance by the security agencies to ascertain that genuine babanbolas in the area.
Meanwhile, in his remark,the representative of the Commissioner of Police, FCT Command,CSP Jimoh Gbenle, who is DPO Utako disclosed that most reported cases of vandalism and theft in the city are traceable to these craftsmen who are mostly seen around the residential areas.
He stressed that any one caught loitering during an ungodly hour will be arrested and severely dealt with and charged to Court.
He pleaded with the group to cooperate with the security agencies, so that vandalism will be a forgotten issue in FCT.
He equally advised them to liaise with the Divisional Police Offices near their business and give out information when the need arises for prompt protection and action.
CSP Gbenle also implored them to change their attitudes and speak with one voice to give positive image to their craft.
It will be recalled that barely two weeks ago ,the FCT Police Command arrested and paraded five suspected cable vandals caught in Mpape,Kubwa areas of the city.