Akwa Ibom govt empowers task force to enforce ban on scavenging, okada riding

Akwa Ibom State government on Monday, January 17, 2022, set up a multi-faceted task force that would ensure the enforcement of the ban on scrap scavenging and Okada operations in the Uyo metropolis.

The task force is also expected to enforce the ban on open grazing and other sundry offences in the state.

Recall that the state government through its Secretary, Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem on January 4, 2022, banned the activities of scrap scavengers.

The ban had followed the death of three persons after a fallout between scrap scavengers and the indigenes of a community.

The Senior Special Assistant to Governor Udom Emmanuel on security matters and special services, Capt. Iniubong Ekong (Retd.) in an interview with journalists in Uyo said the inauguration of the task force was to ensure that the government’s directives were obeyed to the latter for the safety and security of the people.

He added that the enforcement became necessary to tackle any internal insecurity in the state, noting that most heinous crimes such as rape, burglary, stealing from investigations were being perpetrated by criminals on top of motorcycles, (okada).

He said, “we have seen ugly development that Okada has started creeping in especially in Uyo metropolis and part of Uyo capital city. This has not in any way helped the positivity of our security architecture

“Again we have seen the menace of the scrap operators on the livelihood and peace of our people. Actually, the government has not in any way positioned itself to block people’s sources of livelihood, but, the freedom of one to conduct business must not impede on the right of existence of the other.

“Government will not keep quiet and allow a set of business ‘entrepreneurs’ who want to survive and grow their business at the expense of freedom and livelihood of any other person. Every other citizen resident or organic is equal to the other in all ramifications and government has the responsibility to guarantee freedom, safety and peace for all.

“Consequent upon this, the government has set up an enforcement team on the ban to move around to ensure total compliance”

Ekong announced that there would be a mobile court sitting in Ibom Hall Uyo, for the trial of defaulters, adding that motorcycles seized would be crushed publicly even as he disclosed an arrangement with the crushing company from Aba Abia State, which would be performing the exercise every two weeks.

When asked where the governor draws his powers to place a ban on scrap scavenging, he said, ” If you say there is no law backing the governor’s pronouncement#, that is laughable because scrap itself is a direct consequence of environmental cleanliness or otherwise, if there is a law to have protection on the environment and consequent laws on infringement then scrap as an environmentally disorderly function is totally included in environmental laws of the state.

Addressing the law enforcement officers, including men and officers of the Nigerian Police, the Military, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence, Captain Ekong charged them to be diligent and not to engage in physical combat with defaulters as there is existing law waiting for them,(Defaulters)

While noting that no one is exempted from the ban especially the officers that ride okada in the banned zones, Ekong disclosed that governor Udom Emmanuel has approved allowance and welfare packages for them.

Also speaking, CSP Henry Kaboshio urged the team not to compromise but arrest offenders and allow the law take its cause.


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