A’ Ibom Inaugurates Enforcement Team on Scrap Scavenging, Commercial Motorcyclists

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By Okon Bassey

Akwa Ibom State Government has set up a multi-faceted team to enforce the ban on the scrap scavenging, and commercial motorcycle operation within Uyo, the capital city.

The state government had on January 4, 2022, banned the activities of scrap scavengers due to the death of three persons caused by a fallout between scrap scavengers and indigenes of the community.

The Senior Special Assistant to the state Governor, Udom Emmanuel, on Security Matters and Special Services, Capt. Iniubong Ekong (rtd), in an interview yesterday, said the inauguration of the task force was to ensure that government directives are obeyed to the later for the safety and security of the people.

He maintained that the enforcement became imperative in order to tackle any internal insecurity in the state, noting that most heinous crimes such as rape, burglary, and stealing, from investigations, were being perpetuated with the use of motorcycles.

Ekong said: “We have seen ugly development that Okada riding has started creeping in especially in Uyo metropolis, and other parts 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 others.

“The 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 the government has the responsibility to guarantee freedom, safety and peace for all.

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

Ekong disclosed that there would be a mobile court in Ibom Hall, Uyo, for trial of defaulters, adding that motorcycles seized would be crushed publicly.

When asked where the governor draws his power to place ban on scrap scavenging constitutionally, 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 taskforce officers, which included men and officers of the Nigerian Police, the military, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Ekong charged them to be diligent and not to engage in physical combat with defaulters, as there is existing law waiting for them.