The Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State government, Emmanuel Ekuwem has disclosed the decision of the state government to ban the activities of scrap scavengers in the state following several incidents of criminality and threat to peaceful inter-ethnic relationship by the scavengers.
Ekuwem who stated this on Tuesday in Uyo said the ban followed public and popular complaints against the activities of the scavengers who wantonly vandalize peoples properties, stealing and assaulting law abiding citizens in the process.
He said, “Recall that sometime in 2021, multiple explosions, causing fatalities, were recorded in Oruk Anam Local Government Area in the course of scavengers sorting out what turned out to be military brand explosives. About four lives were lost in this incident.
“Similarly, on 2nd Jan, 2022 scavengers violated the premises of a citizen in Afaha Oku, Uyo Local Government Area in an attempt to cart away properties. While attempting to prevent the scavengers, the citizen was callously murdered in cold blood while mob action was visited on the scavenger assailants causing the death of the two scavengers.
“Sundays appear to be the busiest day for these scavengers who take advantage of mass Church attendance to invade homes and cart away valuables leaving hapless citizens with tales of woe upon their return from Church.
“As a responsible Government, we can no longer tolerate the activities of this industry which evidently is in no way adding value to the socio-economic well being of the state but rather escalating tensions and threatening the overall peace and security of the State.
“Accordingly, the operations of scrap scavengers in the State is banned forthwith. Violators of this ban will be apprehended and dealt with according to the law.”
He also reiterated that the prevailing ban on the use of motorcycles in Uyo metropolis remained in place, warning that defaulters stand to lose not only their cycles, if apprehended, but also risk being prosecuted and possibly sentenced.
“Security Agencies and the general public are therefore put on notice. An enforcement structure has been put in place to effect these directives to the letter”, the statement concluded.