The Abia State Government,today inaugurated a team of taskforce to help regulate the activities of scrap operators across the state,as well as,guide against the illegal operation of scrap market.
Inaugurating the Taskforce that would operate across the three senatorial zones of the State,at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Trade and Investment,the Commissioner for Trade and Investment,Hon John Okiyi Kalu, said the Taskforce was set up to rid the state of illegal scrap and waste dealers, that cause hardship on Abia citizens,warning the members of the taskforce to ensure they operate in line with government’s directive.
According to him, the need for setting up the taskforce came with the resolve to rid the state of reported criminality associated with illegal scrap and waste dealers,thereby, forestalling the illegalities in the scrap markets and restoring sanity in the markets.
He said most scrap operators, destroy stolen vehicles and sell them as scrap, disclosing that the level of car theft is on the increase, because car snatchers have a ready market for their illicit business.
The Commissioner noted that most car snatchers work in synergy with scrap operators, therefore,the need to set up a taskforce that would help regulate and checkmate the activities of scrap operators in the state, adding that henceforth, no scrap market without due licensing from the government should be allowed to operate.
He further drew the attention of the taskforce to the Asanetu Spare parts market, calling for urgent assessment to be done on the market.
The Commissioner also called for the immediate closure of the multi scrap yards in Ohafia,Umunneochi and Isuikwuato Local Government Areas, adding that before anybody would be allowed to open, he must satisfy that he is a legal scrap dealer, showing his approval from the government.
He said the aim of the government is to promote genuine businesses and support investors to grow their businesses in the state and at such, setting up a taskforce became imperative, so as to put to an end any illicit act that can sabotage the effort of the government.
“Forthwith,only traders with licence will be allowed to operate at the various scrap market in the state. Before they will open, they must first of all, go through maximum screening to ensure they meet the standard for operation.
“Make sure that the source of every metal scrap in the State is duly verified before it is sold.
When you do this, there will be massive reduction in burglary and sanity will be restored to the markets”.
The Commissioner, however, urged the members of the taskforce to ensure they have regular interaction with one another,so they can know themselves and also report to the various Divisional
Police Officers to acquaint themselves, in the case of eventuality.
Chief John Okiyi Kalu equally advised the taskforce to carry out their duty with due diligence, shunning any form of intimidation,high handedness, corruption and harassment of the traders.
“We didn’t inaugurate you to start beating or harassing our people.Be civil in the discharge of your duty.You are the agents of Gov Okezie Ikpeazu at the different zones.Therefore, represent him well.No ill behaviour should be seen among you.You are a legal taskforce,ensure that only legal processes are followed.Am happy with the quality of men chosen across the zones.Its a pointer you will deliver”,he said.
The Trade and Commerce Commissioner,also informed the Taskforce operatives to arrest any illegal scrap and waste dealers and hand them over to the police for prosecution, adding that the scrap business must follow strictly laid down rules to be operational, as this will sanitize the business in the State.
The commissioner, however, urged the Taskforce operatives to reciprocate the gesture of the Governor in appointing them and show continuous support to his government, even as the electioneering year draws closer.
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Trade amd Investment, Chief Michael Egwu, reminded the members of the taskforce of their mode of operation and ensure they abide by it.
The oath of Allegiance was further taken by members of the taskforce, with an assurance to discharge their duties without fear or favour.
Meanwhile, Chief Nnamdi Balogun was inaugurated as the State Coordinator of Scrap and Waste Market in Abia,while Mr Emmanuel Enyinnaya was made the Cordinating secretary.
For Abia South Zone,Ogadinma Ezebuiro was appointed the Abia South Chairman, Chibuike Akusiobi(Vice Chairman) and Secretary was Odim Emmanuel Otah.
In Abia North,Ikwan Onwuka(Chairman),Uche Christian Chigozie(Vice Chairman) and Chidiebere Uwakwe(Secretary).
Abia Central was Efem Ugochukwu(Chairman),Ikechukwu Nwachukwu(Vice Chairman) and Hon Charles Nwaobiara(Secretary).
Present at the inauguration,were the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Investment, Chief Sir Michael Egwu, Director of Commerce, Elder Mecha Udensi, Director of Finance, Lady Maria Nwariaku and other top management staff of the ministry.