As the rainy season sets in and farmers begin to plant their crops around the FCT and across the country, residents of the FCT have been advised by the FCTA to desist from planting their crops or economic trees in prohibited areas, amongst which is the Shehu Yar’dua Expressway popularly called Airport Road.
In a bid to promote a healthy and secured Federal Capital Territory, (FCT), the Federal Capital Territory Administration and its department for environmental protection – the Abuja Environmental Protection Board – have commenced a sensitization campaign around the FCT against indiscriminate dumping of waste and farming along airport road.
A team headed by the Acting Director, AEPB, Osi Braimah, and the Senior Special Assistant to the FCT Minister on Community Relations, Yamawo Ishaku visited the palace of Hakimi of Lugbe, Malam Salihu Gode who was in company of heads of communities and settlements around Airport Road.
Also of concern is the practice of indiscriminate dumping of waste along the expressway, thereby defacing the capital city which receives many visitors, coming into the country on business and leisure trips.
To this end, the leaders of communities along the Lugbe axis of the Shehu Yar’adua expressway were advised during the sensitization visit to inform their community members that the government will no longer tolerate indiscriminate dumping of waste and farming along the road.
Speaking to newsmen, the Acting Director, AEPB, Osi Braimah, explains that it will be painful to destroy crops that have sprouted and possess economic value, hence the need to educate those in the communities ahead of the farming season.
“Of course there are sanctions for those who farm on prohibited areas but usually what we do is that we simply remove those farms but this is also at great cost to the government. So we think that if you prevent it like the rains are just beginning now, we want to interact and tell them not to farm at all.
“It is a lot easier than waiting for them to farm and then when the crops grow it’s now an economic asset. For us to now come and destroy what they may have put effort to fertilise, tend the crops and so on. So we want to prevent this by simply having this advocacy visit.”
Also speaking, Senior Special Assistant to the FCT Minister on Community Relations, Yamawo Ishaku revealed that the communities have agreed to work with government to identify specific locations for dumping of refuse and regular evacuation.
“Already we’ve agreed, providing land has to be with the community because these are villages the government don’t have right to just design a place within the community looking at the environment now.
“But we’ve agreed with them that the community and the government will go and cite areas that these refuse can be collected and they have all agreed to talk to their subjects not to farm on the road corridors again.
“And even the ones they’ve farmed on the road side like the Gmelina trees some of them have sacrificed them and asked to go and remove them – there is one before the Military Cemetery which the village head was saying we have to pay compensation – but I told them when we are talking of security we don’t even bring in the issue of compensation so nobody is paying compensation to pull down those trees. We are going to pull them down to make sure that place is cleared because it is a security threat to our lives.”
On his part, Hakimi of Lugbe, Malam Salihu Gode thanked FCT administration for their commitment to ensuring a healthy and safe environment for residents of the FCT.
“I congratulate the Honourable Minister for organizing this meeting because it is love unto we the indigenes or we that are residing along the Airport Road. Actually this farming system have long but just because some stubbornness people, they don’t want to hear or obey but some of our people are abiding by the law. We are trying and anybody that we hear or we see, we will advise the person that instead of having your property destroyed, you should better not do it.”
Government also pledged to devise sustainable means for regular evacuation of waste from the communities, so that recorded gains will not be reversed in future.