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Police, Task Force Stole Our Goods Before Burning Our Market, Abuja scrap traders Says

The scrap market traders popularly called ‘Bola-Bola’ have accused the police and operatives of Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) of stealing valuable items and burning down their scrapyard in Abuja.

The incident occurred Friday in an uphill around Apo roundabout, just few metres away from headquarters of the disbanded police unit, Special-Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

Peoples Gazette gathered that the Task Force, comprising members of the AEPB, alongside armed police officers stormed the uphill axis popularly called “Torobola” around 11: a.m and started shooting sporadically to scare the scrap traders and craftsmen away.

The Gazette learnt that the AEPB Zonal patrol team came from the agency branch office located at Area 3, Garki District.

“They came with gallons of petrol and lighter which they used in burning down the market alongside scraps we purchased with our hard earned money.

“Before the security operatives unleashed this mayhem on us, they went to other stands and carted away with items belonging to other traders who deal in clothing, shoes and other items unrelated to scraps,” Sani Abdullahi told the Gazette in Hausa.

Mr. Abdullahi who specialises in buying and selling scraps told this newspaper that the enforcement agency burned down his tent and items worth over N 195,000 as they carted away with his measurement scale.

The distraught scrap metal and rubber dealer who is also a member of Association of Bola-Bola and Craftsmanship in Abuja, disclosed that his association and (AEPB) had reached an agreement to relocate them to another location.
“They had promised to relocate us from this mountain during a meeting held last year at Abuja Art and Culture centre with some of our officials.

“But despite the treaty, the AEPB frequently raided our market and extort money from us. What they did today is unthinkable. At least they should have issued a quit notice to us rather than burning down our goods which we laboured for.

“This business is our only means of survival. What we are doing is far better than stealing,” Mr. Abdullahi said.

When the Gazette visited the market in the aftermath of the attack, goods were seen blazed to ashes in the scrap yard. The losses in monetary value, our findings cannot independently verify.

Isah Musa, a scrap dealer and victim of the attack, disclosed that the AEPB arrested him and some of the boys that scavenge metal and other recycled materials for him.

“They did not issue any quit notice to me. I am a law abiding citizen who deal in a business that is well known and legalised in this country.

“When they stormed the market, they chased us away with gunshots and started beating us. They arrested me alongside five of my boys and took us to AEPB office at Area 3.

“We had to bail ourselves with the sum of N2,000 each.
“They destroyed properties belonging to me worth over a million naira. You can see for your self,” Mr. Musa said.

A scavenger of recycled materials, Auwalu Ibrahim alleged that one of the officials searched and collected his Infinix phone which was not returned to him when he was arrested.

When contacted, Bawuro Yahaya, AEPB chairman, on Saturday morning said he is not aware that the scrap market has been blazed by it official.

“It’s an unfortunate incident and a great loss to the traders. Give me small time to carry out my own findings and get back to you latest on Monday,” Mr. Yahaya told the Gazette by telephone.

The FCT police command spokeswoman Maryam Yusuf did not respond to multiple calls and messages for comments from the Gazette.

However, scraps which consist of recyclable materials left over from manufactured products like vehicle parts, building materials, generator, rubbers, amongst others has monetary value.

The dealers generate revenue from materials recovered from metallic and non-metallic materials.

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