By Abigael Joshua
Mr Osilamah Braimah, the Director, Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) has said that the board derived no joy in shutting down Garki International Market on Friday.
Braimah said this on Sunday in Abuja in a statement by Mrs Janet Peni, the AEPB Deputy Director of Information.
Braimah explained that while the board was not happy shutting down the market, however, “it will be failing in its responsibility, if the market is allowed to operate in its current deplorable condition”.
Stating the reason for the measure, Braimah said, “Environmental Health Officers of the Board carrying out routine monitoring activities in the market, a week ago, noticed the filthy market environment, garbage littered all over the place and bleeding sewer lines.
“Following our standard protocol, we served them an abatement notice, giving them the required time allowable under law, to clean up.
“They ignored the notice and refused to clean up, rather the pile of garbage in the market premise grew worse.”
The director said that AEPB simply went to court to obtain the court order to seal the market for their non compliance attitude.
He said that the closure was followed by the court order issued to that effect.
“It is indeed a sad spectacle to behold fruits and vegetables being sold in close proximity to damaged sewer lines and heaps of garbage.
“Subsequently on Friday, over 5000 traders who thronged the modern market in order to trade, couldn’t gain access into their shops as the market was sealed up.
“This means that every commercial activity grinds to a halt, because the situation as it is, is a recipe for an epidemic,” he noted.
”Braimah revealed that an epidemic waiting to happen promptly and decisively tackled is economically beneficial than allowing trading to go on as usual in a filthy market environment.
“Placing financial interests of traders above the greater public health of the general populace is indeed an expensive mistake that we cannot afford to make.
The director assured that once the managers of the market undertake to clean up, they will be allowed to resume trading in the market.
“As soon as they do the needful, we will go back to the court to obtain a court order to unseal the market for operations,” he added.
The statement revealed that the
situation at Garki International Market remained the same even after a late evening meeting on Friday between AEPB, Abuja Markets Management Limited (AMML) and shop owners.
“Traders with perishable goods were allowed to evacuate their goods so as not to incur losses.” (NAN)