By: Wisdom Acka
All those renting out cashew plantations to scavangers and pantakers for use are warned to desist from the practice henceforth.
Scavangers, popularly known as ‘babanbola’ usually rent those plantations from indigenous peoples of the FCT, where they assemble and sort waste, taking out some valuable ones and leaving out the rest to liter and find its way back into the city. Such cashew plantations also serve as hideout for criminals.
This warning was issued Wednesday by Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement to the FCT Minister, Ikharo Attah, during cleaning exercise in Mabushi and Jahi Districts.
Attah, who advised the scavangers and pantakers to move to dump sites for their legitimate businesses, lamented that it was unacceptable for owners of undeveloped land or buildings under construction to rent them out for illegal land use different from what it was in the Abuja Master Plan.
He further warned that the FCT Administration would henceforth report owner of these property to the police and if the criminality is too much, it would recommend necessary action to the FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello.
“We are removing ‘babanbolas’ and shanties around Mabushi area, close to Orji Uzor Kalu House. FCT Commissioner of Police, Sunday Babaji urged the FCT Minister to clear the area in order to make it more secure. The Minister, therefore, directed us to clear all ‘babanbolas’ in this area,” the SSA said.
“It is part of our agenda to clear the city and today we found someone’s national identity card and international passport, that were probably stolen . This is a high brow area and it won’t be right for ‘babanbolas’ to stay here. We will be handing them over to appropriate agencies to locate the owners of the identity card and international passport for collection,” he added.
His words: “We also saw custom’s element, police cap, official coat of arms, which can be for one government agency”, he emphasized.
Attah decried: “The cashew trees are no longer economic trees again, they are now insecurity trees, because whenever we go out there, we see criminals hiding under the trees. They have become safe havens for criminals”.
He threatened to fell the cashew trees accommodating scavangers and pantakers.
According to him, “We have already told the indiginous people that any cashew plantation that is rented out to ‘bababolas’, when we get there we won’t spare the cashew trees because we must touch every illegal structures in the plantation and remove them”.
Assistant Director, Enforcement, Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), Kaka Bello while speaking on behalf of AEPB Director, insisted that all pantakers and ‘babanbola’ must move to dump sites to do their business.
Kaka explained that waste dumsites degrade the environment and were hazardous to the health of the people within the area.
“The director of AEPB, Osilamah Braimoh had ordered them to vacate the areas and use the dump site for all this their activities, but unfortunately, they have refused to vacate,” he stressed.
“We have no choice but to remove them. These are residential areas but they have occupied the places and some of the challenges is that there is huge accumulation of waste and others,” he pointed out.