Enugu Taskforce Clashes With Scavengers, Vehicle Burnt

Enugu

*Enugu residents count losses, hail govt

The Enugu State taskforce enforcing government’s ban on the activities of plastic and iron scavengers, Tuesday, clashed with scavengers, as team members were trying to prevent the loading of suspected stolen and vandalised items into trailers to their illicit buyers.

The incident occurred at the scavengers’ dumpsite located at Abakpa Nike, Enugu, where a vehicle belonging to the taskforce was also torched by the scavengers.

This was even as residents, who recounted their losses over the activities of the scavengers, commended the effort of the Peter Mbah Administration to enforce the provisions of the Enugu State Environmental Law, which prohibits the activities of scavengers and also prescribes a two-year prison term for violators.

The taskforce had taken the scavengers unawares as they were loading the items into a trailer. However, an attempt to stop them resulted in a violent attack on the taskforce members with dangerous items like iron and broken bottles.

Not even the reinforcement of the team with a detachment of police personnel could deter the scavengers, as they became more violent, hauling various missiles at the police and the taskforce.

It was gathered that the scavengers burnt a car belonging to the taskforce as the confrontation intensified, while one of the scavengers, who sustained serious injury, as he reportedly fell on a sharp iron, was rushed to the hospital.

A shopkeeper in the area, Ukamaka Udeh, said, “Look at what they did here today. Just imagine. You are doing something illegal. You are vandalising street lights, water galleries, and stealing things up and down. And you were caught red-handed, loading these items into a lorry. Instead of running away or pleading for mercy, you mobilise yourselves to fight the taskforce and fight the police. What more evidence do you need before you know that these are hardened criminals? They smoke weeds and take ‘Mkpuru Mmiri’ around this area as if there is no tomorrow.

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“It is those of us who do business here that will tell you what we pass through. Everyday, shop vandalisation. I mean everyday.

“It is the same type of people that vandalise iron components of the newly constructed Second Niger Bridge as we saw in a trending video today. So, it is good that the government is now doing something about it. But the government must prepare for full war because these people are not easy nuts to crack,” she said.

A resident of Achara Layout, Enugu, who simply identified herself as Chidimma, described the scavengers as security and economic risks, saying, “They have finished us in this area.”

“They are vandalisers and security risks. They break into people’s shops at night in this neighbourhood and steal all they can. If you leave any valuable item outside, they will quickly steal them. They steal generators and generator parts. The same goes for electrical wirings in people’s homes. They remove the wires and burn them to extract the copers for sale. They even make the whole environment very, very dirty. We don’t want them here.

Another resident, who lives at Independence Layout, lamented that since the government banned them, they dropped the carts in the area and now carry sacks.

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“We are not comfortable with them. Inside their bags are people’s valuables. These people have finished us here,” she stated.

It was further revealed that the Chief Security Officer of Ogbete Main Market caught the same scavengers with 15 bags of rice concealed in their carts.

From Monkey Roundabout at Independence Layout to Kenyatta, Gariki area, Coal Camp, and Emene, among others, the complaints are the same against the scavengers in virtually every part of the state capital and across the state: vandalism, theft, dirt, drug, and other forms of criminality.

Meanwhile, security sources said police stations across the state record 28 reports each on the average on the activities of scavengers.

He said, “Their activities have reached dangerous proportions. So, we are now targeting the big men behind them, the off-takers, who sponsor them or buy these things from them. Enough is enough.”

It is recalled that the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Chidiebere Onyia, had at a meeting with leaders and representatives of Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa/Fulani communities in January restated the government’s ban on the operations of scavengers, warning that defaulters would be prosecuted.

He said the ban followed numerous petitions by members of the public against the activities of the illegal waste merchants, revealing that enforcement of the ban, arrest and prosecution of violators would commence on Monday, 29 January, 2024, as some scavengers were associated with house breaking and stealing.

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“The government will no longer condone the activities of scavengers in the state. We have to rid the state of every vestige of crimes by restoring sanity. We want to assure all residents in the state who are into genuine business that we will continue to work towards making the environment safer for them.

“You will recall that sometime in November 2023, after reports from residents complaining about harassment and theft from scavengers and illegal waste pickers, the government set up a committee to assess the extent of the threats scavengers posed to the wellbeing of our law-abiding citizens.

“It was established that criminals are now roaming the streets posing as scavengers. Following this establishment, the government activated Section 20 of the Enugu State Environmental Law, that provides against scavenging activities by outlawing these illegal operators,” Onyia stated.

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3 Comments to “Enugu Taskforce Clashes With Scavengers, Vehicle Burnt”

  1. The Enugu state government under the mbah administration are rendering people in the state stranded and subjecting people to abject poverty in the state of Enugu, Nigeria the government should hear the helpless cry of we the residents of Enugu state

  2. Those who lie on people’s predicament and helplessness will one day face the same fate. God Almighty will surely give whom deserves justice, justice

  3. Those who lie on people’s predicament and helplessness will one day face the same fate. God Almighty will surely give whom deserves justice,

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