As Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT) intensifies attacks on suspected criminals’ hideouts, the Minister of the FCT, Malam Muhammad Bello, has said there is no going back on the planned removal of one of the biggest scrap markets in the country, popularly known as the “Apo-Dutse Pan Taker”.
(“Pan Takers” in Nigeria are usually a group of scrap collectors and waste recyclers who sell and buy any used valuable at designated colonies).
Insisting that the place harbours suspected criminal elements, the Minister said the ultimatum given to them can only be extended by one week from today, Friday.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Minister on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement, Ikharo Attah, who had an interactive meeting with stakeholders of the Pantaker market on Friday noted that the Minister has given a marching order that the market be removed.
Operators of the “Pan taker”market admitted that the place was riddled with several challenges, but, however, pleaded for enough time to enable them remove all their property.
Attah noted that the decision to extend the ultimatum by one week was due to the Ramadan.
“The Minister has demonstrated magnanimity, but insists that the location of the market is illegal and contravenes Urban and Regional planning rules.
“The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, has given a marching order to clear the place because criminals are largely hibernating there.
“Even the people have admitted that the criminals have stolen some electrical installations there.
“We have warned them and given them ultimatum before, but they pleaded that their pan taker is not like the other ones, but the biggest in the country.
“They said that parking their things will take almost one month. We reviewed it because of the Ramadan and agreed on one week after the Sallah to vacate the place,” Attah added.
One of the leaders of Apo-Dutse Pan-taker Market Association, Ambusa Umar, said the operators have consented to the decision of the administration, but pleaded for two weeks, instead of one.
Umar noted that the operators are law-abiding citizens, working to eke out a living and also contribute to the country’s economic growth.
He equally acknowledged that the place has had security challenges, but urged the administration to consider their request.
Edited by Amaka E. Nliam