In what appears to be a quick shift of tactics, officials from the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) carried out a midnight clean-up operation, dismantling two main markets and three crucial roadside selling stations along the busy expressway’s arteries.
The crew, which was largely made up of Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) officers and security personnel connected to their Area 3 Enforcement department, cleared all wooden tables, benches, and other things previously used by sellers.
The exercise, which lasted from 11 p.m. Wednesday to 4.25 a.m. Thursday along the airport road, was led by Comrade Ikharo Attah, Senior Special Assistant to the FCT Minister on Monitoring, Inspection, and Enforcement.
He said the operation was in line with a directive of the FCT Minister that the cleaning of the Airport Road is a continuous exercise, and as such they can’t stop at nothing, but to recover the gateway to the city.
Attah added that prior to their visit, the affected traders had removed their goods and taken them to somewhere else for safe-keeping, it was only the wooden benches, tables and umbrellas left behind that were cleared.
His words: “We commenced the operation from about 12 am till about 4:30 am, and we have been able to freely removed all the wooden benches, tables, umbrellas and everything there. We cleared them all, and because they are so massive, we can’t pack them, and we had to set all of them ablaze, as part our plan to clean up the Airport Road corridor.
“If we try to do this during the daytime, we observed that people would gather in their thousands watching; and passers-by will slow down and be watching us , but today we didn’t see such, because of the time when we stormed the place.
” I believe that we are getting the result, and so far we were able to remove two main markets and three strategic roadside selling points. It was so disturbing and painting our city in bad light, that’s why the FCT Minister gave us the mandate to check the menace, and we have been doing that.
“We had come here today, to demystify and actually sack most of the night markets and roadside trading. so long as we continue working I don’t think that they can come back, as on a daily basis, we have our pin-down there, and from time to time, a joint cleaning team will make sure that these activities will not continue.
“And going forward, even after the greening exercise, the Airport Road will be constantly be kept clean as it is the gateway to our city.”
Meanwhile, the Deputy Director of AEPB, Kaka Bello, noted that it’s just part of our routine exercise, as part of our effort at cleaning the Airport Road, and ensuring that all environmental nuisance are removed.
Kaka reiterated that some traders using makeshift structures and lot of shanties, which hitherto defaced the place were removed. “As you are aware, the Airport Road is the gateway into and out of nation’s capital city.”