The Secretary, FCT Social Development Secretariat (SDS), Ladi Hassan, says the order restricting the activities of scavengers, popularly called `baban bola’ within the city centre is still in force.
Mr Hassan stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.
According to him, the order banning their activities within the Federal City Centre (FCC) is still in force, henceforth they are to remain within the designated dump sites.
He said that the sites are located at Gousa, Karshi, Bwari, Gwagwalada, Kwali, Abaji and Kuje, adding that security agencies have been directed to arrest and prosecute anyone found violating the directive.
“It has been observed that the scavengers under the guise of scavenging from refuse bins in neighbourhoods across the city, the baban bola have been involved in many criminal activities.
“The activities ranged from petty stealing to armed robbery, vandalism of public utilities and other forms of crime and criminality.
“As a result, report reaching FCTA indicate that residents in many parts of the capital city have lost some of their valuables to these scavengers,’’ he said.
The secretary said it was the responsibility of the administration to protect and secure lives and property of all residents in the territory.
“And in accordance with section 35, sub section 1 (i) of AEPB Act of 1997, which prohibits the collection and disposal of refuse without authorisation, FCTA hereby affirmed the ban on scavengers.
“The baban bola are banned from collecting, disposing of refuse, trespassing on refuse bins or similar activities in any part of the Federal Capital City.
“Their activities are henceforth restricted to government designated dump sites within the territory,’’ he warned.
An FCT resident, Aliyu Abdulkadir told NAN that he had lost two items, a cooking gas cylinder and small Yamaha generating set to the scavengers at his house in Kubwa.
“It was on the eve of New Year, I brought the cylinder for a refill but realising that the gas stations would be closed on that day, I took it back.
“The following morning when I opened my main entrance, the cylinder and the generator were all gone. My neighbour said he saw the man (baban bola) around 5 a.m. but thought it was me,’’ he said.
Mr Abdulkadir appealed to the authorities to as a matter of urgency match words with action as some of the culprits were apprehended but later released on bail.
Lawali Isa, a scavenger who spoke with NAN, said not all scavengers are thieves adding that people look at every scavenger as a thief.
“We engage in it for our livelihood as that is the work we know, but I assured people that not all of us are thieves; really some of us are but not all.
“Some of the residents hate us simply because when their dogs tried to harass us, we fight back, that has been one of our major challenges.