THE Federal Capital Territory Development Authority (FCTA), has continued to battle street hawking within the Federal Capital City despite its ban many years ago.
It will be recalled that former Minister of FCT. Bala Mohammed, had in 2014, set up a special task team on city cleaning and management with the view of arresting the menace of commercial motorcycles (okada), street hawking and keke Napep indiscriminate operation within the city.
On assumption of office in 2015, the current minister of FCT, Mohammad Bello reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to ensuring the city was without the menace of illegal street activities.
But these hawkers have defied all odds to continue to be on the streets selling various products at strategic traffic lights, street corners and in the traffic.
Although, the task force set up by the past administration is still operational, it has not deterred the activities of street hawking as one of the street food vendors in area 11, Mrs Hope Uche, said it was a result of unemployment.
Uche, who makes as much as N5000 a day, blamed the government for not giving street hawkers alternative source of livelihood before pushing them off the street.
According to her, “where do they want us to go, what do they want us to do? She queried.
Meanwhile Abuja Environmental Protection Board and the Task Force are not relenting on their efforts to clean the city’s streets of all form of nuisance.
An FCTA official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said much had been done by the Bello administration to rid the city of street hawking, saying many of illegal traders were arrested every day with their goods confiscated.
The source said for many years now street hawking had been tagged a crime by the FCTA with the penalty of 25 years imprisonment yet hawkers in the capital city risked going to jail daily in order to have stipends.
Nigerian Tribune investigation revealed that many of these hawkers are aware of the consequences if caught by the Administration but choose to risk going to prison in order to put food on their tables.
Speaking with Esther Elemu, a hawker who sells soft drinks at Kabusa junction in Apo, “this is the work I have been doing since I came to Abuja, government has been disturbing us here, any time we see them coming, we pack our things and run” she stated.
Asked how much she made daily, Esther said she realised between N2000 and N2500 every day. “Some days are bad days because Abuja Environmental will not allow us to work and if you are unfortunate and they arrest you, you will spend the whole money you have made to bail yourself.”
…Suspends tenement rates
THE Federal Capital Territory Administration has directed the immediate suspension of tenement rates collection in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.
The directive on the temporary suspension of tenement rates was contained in a circular signed by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Permanent Secretary, Mr Babatope Ajakaiye.
The circular indicated that the suspension was necessitated by the need to sanitise and streamline the tenement rates collection process, as well as to ensure compliance with relevant provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Mr. Ajakaiye drew attention to the constitutional responsibility of the National Assembly to prescribe rates to be paid on tenements in the FCT and disclosed that the FCTA was liaising with the legislative body for the enactment of the requisite Act.
He noted that the process of property valuation and gazetting at the FCT Administration and FCT Area Council levels was ongoing, while submissions from the Area Councils were being collated for onward transmission to the National Assembly.
Spokesperson for the FCT Minister, Cosmas Uzodinma, in a statement said:
“This suspension is also in consonance with a resolution of the House of Representatives on the matter and decisions reached at a subsequent meeting with the leadership of the House Committee on FCT, held on Monday, 31st October, 2016, which are deemed to remain in force until the National Assembly concludes the enactment of the requisite legislation”, the circular stated.
“The FCT Administration thus enjoined all stakeholders to be law-abiding and note the suspension of tenement rates collection in the FCT for strict compliance”.