By Kabir Muhammad
Abuja – The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has banned the activities of scavengers or waste pickers, also known as Baban Bola, from the city centre.
The Secretary, FCTA Social Development Secretariat, Mr Ladi Hassan, disclosed this while speaking with newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja.
Hassan said the action was necessitated by the outcries from various residents to the effect that many valuables have been lost to scavengers in the territory.
“Following the resolution of the FCT Administration to combat armed robbery, kidnappings, vandalism, other forms of crime and criminality in the territory, the administration has ban the activities of scavengers within the city centre.
“Accordingly, they have been directed to restrict their activities to the official dumpsites in the city only,’’ he said.
He noted that many public utilities have been targeted for vandalism and robbery activities by Baban Bola operatives.
Hassan said that under the guise of scavenging from refuse bins in neighbourhood across the city, the scavengers have been involved in many criminal activities.
The secretary said the activities range from petty stealing to armed robbery, vandalism of public utilities, other forms of crime and criminality.
According to him, to put an end to this activity therefore, scavengers are to operate only at the Gousa, Karshi, Bwari, Gwagwalada, Kwali, Abaji and Kuje approved dumpsite areas.
“This is as opposed to moving from one neighbourhood to another collecting waste objects across the city of Abuja.
“In furtherance of the commitment of the FCT Administration to protect and secure lives and property of all residents of the Territory.
“In accordance with section 35 sub-section 1(i) of the AEPB Act of 1997, which prohibits the collection and disposal of refuse without authorisation.
“The FCT Administration hereby, bans scavengers from collecting, disposing of refuse, trespassing on refuse bins or similar activities in any part of the Federal Capital City.
“Their activities are, henceforth, restricted to government designated dump sites outside the city.
“As a result, reports reaching the Administration indicate that residents in many parts of the Capital City have lost many of their valuables to these scavengers.
“Pursuant to the foregoing, the Secretary requested the security agencies to arrest and prosecutes anyone found to be violating the directive and plying their trade outside the official dumpsites,’’ Hassan said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalled that the FCTA had earlier given May 2018 as deadline to the group to stop their indiscriminate activities in the territory.
NAN also reports that the deadline was after the administration held a meeting with the leadership of the Abuja Chapter of Baban Bola and Craftsmanship in April.