Enugu Taskforce Clashes with Scavengers, Vehicle Torched

Scavengers

Enugu State witnessed a significant clash on Tuesday between the state taskforce and scavengers at Abakpa Nike. The taskforce was enforcing a government ban on the activities of plastic and iron scavengers, aiming to prevent the loading of suspected stolen and vandalized items into trailers for illicit buyers.

The confrontation at the scavengers’ dumpsite escalated quickly, resulting in the burning of a taskforce vehicle by the scavengers. The taskforce, supported by police personnel, faced violent resistance from the scavengers, who attacked them with iron rods and broken bottles.

Enugu taskforce and scavengers fight
Enugu taskforce and scavengers fight

Local residents, who have suffered losses due to the activities of these scavengers, applauded the efforts of Governor Peter Mbah’s administration to enforce the Enugu State Environmental Law. This law prohibits scavenging activities and prescribes a two-year prison term for violators.

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A shopkeeper in the area, Ukamaka Udeh, expressed her frustration: “They are vandalizing street lights, water galleries, and stealing items constantly. When caught, instead of fleeing or pleading for mercy, they mobilize to fight the taskforce and police. These are hardened criminals, often seen smoking weed and taking ‘Mkpuru Mmiri’. It’s the local business owners who suffer the most.”

Chidimma, a resident of Achara Layout, described the scavengers as both security and economic risks. She recounted numerous incidents of theft and vandalism, emphasizing that they often target generators, electrical wiring, and leave the environment filthy.

 

Further complaints echoed from various parts of the state, highlighting the widespread issues caused by scavengers. Reports from Monkey Roundabout, Independence Layout, Kenyatta, Gariki area, Coal Camp, and Emene described a pattern of vandalism, theft, and criminal activities linked to scavengers.

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Security sources revealed that police stations across Enugu State receive an average of 28 reports daily concerning scavenger activities. Authorities are now targeting the financiers and buyers of the stolen goods, aiming to dismantle the networks supporting these illegal operations.

In January, the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Chidiebere Onyia, reiterated the government’s stance during a meeting with community leaders. He warned that enforcement and prosecution of scavengers would intensify, emphasizing the government’s commitment to eradicating criminal activities disguised as scavenging.

Prof. Onyia stated, “The government will no longer tolerate scavengers in the state. We must restore sanity and ensure a safer environment for law-abiding residents. The enforcement of Section 20 of the Enugu State Environmental Law is a crucial step in this direction.”

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The clash at Abakpa Nike underscores the ongoing battle between the state authorities and scavengers, reflecting broader efforts to combat crime and ensure public safety in Enugu.