Court remands public utility vandals in Abuja

Hudu Yakubu, Abuja

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Four traders from Dutse Alhaji market were on Friday remanded at Suleja Maximum Correctional Centre for allegedly breaking down the perimeter fence constructed around the market by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).

The traders, Donatus Iheme, Amadi Christian, Sunday Markus and Ibrahim Yakubu, were arraigned at the Chief Magistrate Court, Wuse zone 6, on three counts charge of ” Joint act, mischief and inciting disturbance, said to be contrary to sections 79, 327 and 114 of the Penal code laws.

After pleading not guilty to the offences, the presiding Magistrate, Aminu Eri granted the accused persons bail in the sum of N5m and two sureties each in the like sum, but were taken to Correctional Centre pending when they perfect the conditions of the bail. Proper hearing of the case has been fixed for September 2nd 2021.

The prosecuting counsel, Charity Okaruo said the accused persons will remain in custody, until they fulfill the bail conditions, even though they had pleaded not guilty.

Okaruo stated that the four traders and others at large have a case to answer over the market fence that was destroyed.

The defendant’s Counsel, Christian Tabugbo, however, accused the FCT Minister and the Bwari Area Council Chairman of plans to intimidate the traders.

The lawyer disclosed that the traders had written to both Minister and the Council Chairman, requesting to remove the fence, as a measure to create multiple entry points to the market.

Meanwhile, the Chairman, FCT Ministerial Committee on Traffic Management, Mr Ikharo Attah said that no approval was ever given to the traders permitting the removal of the fence.

Attah explained that FCT administration paid heavily to construct the fence, closing too many entry points to the market, as part of measures to address the troubling traffic nightmare along the Dutse Expressway.

He said that having multiple entry points at the market would create more traffic problems along the ever-busy road, as petty traders would practically move their ways into the road corridor.

Attah added that ” The comment by the defendant’s Counsel was misleading, as the fence was constructed because the spillover from the market was causing traffic gridlock along the road.

” The construction of the fence was in line with standard planning rules and regulations that access can’t be allowed from a primary road.

” The traders and the market managers have allocated all the available spaces in the market and are looking for how to take over the road and make the traffic gridlock return“.

 

Nnenna.O

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