Operation Sweep FCT Arrests 400 Persons in Abuja
Hudu Yakubu, Abuja
The newly inaugurated Operation Sweep in the Nigerian Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Abuja, Nigeria, has arrested 400 persons and impounded 50 vehicles for various offences.
The Commander, Chief Superintendent of Police, Umar Kadiri, made this known while briefing journalists in Abuja on Monday, during an operation to dislodge illegal traders selling items on the street.
The operation also dislodged illegal motor parks, removed illegal structures on the streets, demolished scavengers’ shanties, and set them ablaze.
The operation took place at Utako Ultra-Modern Market and down through A.E Ekukinam Street to Jabi Motor Park and environs among other locations to keep Abuja city clean.
Kadiri said that the 50 vehicles and the 400 people were arrested between Friday and Monday, adding that some of the offenders have been prosecuted.
He explained that the operation was part of efforts to strengthen environmental sanitation in the FCT by clearing hawkers, demolishing illegal structures, unauthorised car parks, and activities of scavengers.
“We have impounded not less than 50 vehicles from Friday to date and arrested not less than 400 people. Some were prosecuted and others will be prosecuted in accordance with the law.
“The clearing of illegal traders by the roadside around the markets became necessary because they were constituting obstacles to free flow of traffic and defacing the city.
“Beyond keeping the city clean, clearing them would also ensure a free floor of traffic in Abuja streets, including market areas where traders and their illegal strictures have taken over the roads.
“Most of these traders were associating themselves with scangers who are allegedly stealing people’s valuables in the name of scavenging,” he said.
Also speaking, the Deputy Director, Monitoring and Enforcement, Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB),
Mr Kaka Bello, said that the operation was part of ongoing exercise to Keep Abuja clean.
Bello said that Mr Nyesom Wike, the Minister of the FCT had recently inaugurated the Operation Sweep FCT to ensure effective sanitation in the city capital.
“As you can see, we are here with different security agencies to provide the needed support for a hitch-free exercise.
“We have been here several times, but the illegal traders and scavengers return after some time to continue their illegal activity,” he said.
He advised owners of properties in Abuja to take over their properties and develop them to prevent miscreants from proliferating undeveloped areas for illegal and criminal activities.
The operation sweep was made of the representative of the Nigerian Police, Nigerian Immigration Nigeria Security and Civil Défense Corps, and Department of State Services.
Others are the Nigerian Army, Navy, and the Airforce, as well as the Federal Road Safety Corps and AEPB.
One of the affected scavengers, Mr Mohammed Sani, whose shanty was destroyed around Jabi Motor Park, confirmed that they had been vacated from the area a long time ago but returned.
“I know that we have been warned to leave the place, but we are just trying to survive,” he said.
Also, a resident, Ismail Haruna, commended the government for clearing the streets to restore sanity on Abuja streets.
He lamented that illegal traders have taken over major streets, built illegal structures for selling all kinds of items, including drugs.
“I am very happy that the FCT administration has taken steps to keep our city clean,” he said.