Ini Billie, Uyo
The Akwa Ibom State Government has banned the activities of scrap scavengers in the state and the use of motorcycles within the Uyo metropolis.
The ban follows the burning of two scrap scavengers to death by irate youths for killing a youth identified as Anietie in the Afaha Oku community in Uyo on Sunday.
The scavengers were said to have beaten Anietie to death when he accosted them for entering his compound and taking away items they identified as metal scraps without permission.
Anietie’s brother was said to have raised the alarm over the attack on his brother, attracting the youths in the area to beat the scavengers to death.
A statement signed by the Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government, Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem, and made available to newsmen on Tuesday in Uyo, the government noted that the operators of the trade have used it to commit a crime, assault citizens, and threaten peaceful inter-ethnic relationship in the state.
According to Ekuwem, the government would no longer tolerate the activities of the scavengers as it was inimical to the socio-economic wellbeing of the state, adding that violators would be arrested and prosecuted without delay.
“The Government of Akwa Ibom State has, with immediate effect, banned the activities of scrap scavengers in the state.
“This follows several incidents of grave infractions including acts of criminality and threat to the peaceful inter-ethnic relationship in the state by operators of this enterprise.
“The action of Government is also in consonance with public sentiments amidst popular complaints against the activities of these scavengers who wantonly violate people’s properties, stealing and assaulting law-abiding citizens in the process.
“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 January 2022 scavengers violated the premises of a citizen in Afaha Oku, Uyo Local Government Area 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,” he stated.
The SSG explained that the ban of motorcycle operations within Uyo was to emphasize the already existing ban which citizens have constantly disregarded.
He warned that defaulters would lose their motorcycles and be prosecuted if arrested, adding that an enforcement structure has been put in place to monitor compliance.
He mentioned that the government is bent on ensuring peace and security in the state as well as the safety of lives and properties.