Enugu govt restates ban on scavengers, cart pushers, commences enforcement

Enugu State Government has restated its ban on scavengers and cart pushers, warning that anyone caught operating as such would be prosecuted in line with the state laws without exception.

This followed the growing security threats posed by the activities of the activities of scavengers and cart pushers in the state.

A few weeks ago, security operatives recovered a set of dangerous arms, including guns and machetes, from scavengers arrested at Agbani Road, Gariki and Ogbete Market areas of the State.

Worried by this, the State Government announced the proscription of the scavengers and their activities popularly called, “Iron Condemn” in local parlance.

The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Chidiebere Onyia, who reaffirmed the ban weekend after an elaborate meeting with the leadership and representatives of the Hausa/Fulani Community and their Igbo and Yoruba counterparts at the Government House, Enugu, lamented that hundreds of petitions had been received from members of the public protesting against the activities of the illegal waste pickers.

The SSG said enforcement of the ban and arrest and prosecution of violators would commence on Monday, 29 January, 2024.

He observed that scavengers with evil motives were infiltrating the state, breaking into people’s homes and stealing their valuables, adding that the state is determined to protect life of the citizens and safeguard their properties against intruders.

Citing section 20 of Enugu State Environmental Law, Prof. Onyia said anyone caught scavenging within the state risks 2 years imprisonment, calling on residents to be on the lookout for would-be-violators and report the to the nearest police station or the taskforce set up for that purpose.

“Enugu State Government is determined to protect every life and property of our citizens. That is our primary responsibility. We will ensure that every threat to the security and peace of the state is eliminated.

“The government will no longer condone the activities of scavengers in the state. We have to get rid of 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 the law that provides against scavenging activities by outlawing these illegal operators.

“However, as government with empathy and humane face, we allowed for time to communicate the order. During the period, it was observed that more of the scavengers had infiltrated the state. So, we are now determined to enforce the law. This should serve as a warning to scavengers in the state. By Monday, the state taskforce will be out to give full effect to the proscription,” he added.

The State Government further called on the law enforcement agencies to arrest and prosecute unrepentant scavengers and make examples of them.

Enugu residents have been appealing to the government to tackle the menace of the scavengers and rid them out of the streets.