Written by Austine ELEMUE

Churches, Drink Parlours Takeover FCT Residential Areas

Crisis is gradually brewing in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, between landlords and operators of churches and drinking parlours with the geometric spread of churches and drinking joints within residential areas.

These indications emerged following series of complaints from affected residents over the continued public disturbance by these churches and drinking joints against the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, AEPB Act, which prohibits such outfits in residential areas.

The AEPB Act 1997 Act No. 10 of 1997 Statutory Legislation Applicable Area of the Federal Capital Territory stipulates that the board has "duty to keep owned or occupied tenement clean, neat, keep grass low and trim, cut and trim flowers; keep drainage running through the tenement free from blockage.

"Provide adequate dust bin and sanitary convenience; must not dry cloths in front of the balcony or in front of his premises or on hedges or sidewalks, must not keep animals or birds likely to cause nuisance; must not use a residential premises for the sale of alcoholic drinks or as a restaurant or for other commercial activity".

Some of the affected residents who spoke to our correspondent affirmed that if adequate and urgent steps are not taken by relevant agencies and departments, the development could snowball to a major crisis in the nation's capital.

The affected residents also accused some agencies of the administration of not rising up to the occasion despite official complains, while calling on the FCT administration to step into the issue with a view to averting crisis in the future.

One of the affected residents of Nyanya in Area 'B', of the Abuja Municipal Area Council, Mr. Joseph Shauib, said a prayer house in his neighbourhood has constituted nuisance to all in the area, even as he stressed that all efforts made by affected residents to address the issue has proved abortive.

"It is a terrible situation in this neighbourhood for those of us in Area 'B' whenever this prayer house organises an event. I don't know how best to tackle this knotty issue because there is no agency in FCT Administration I have not communicated but to no avail. I am a Christian, but I have not seen this form of Christianity anywhere. They will start prayers from 6.00pm till dawn not minding other people”.

Another affected resident, Mrs. Beatrice Onah, of Aco/AMAC Estate, maintained that the uncontrolled geometric increase of drinking joints within residential area may lead to clashes between landlords and operators of beer parlours.

According to her, the drinking joint located at Aco/AMAC Estate, after the roundabout along phase 11, has been in operation for the past three months, and has murdered sleep.

"For three months now, we have murdered sleep in this neighbourhood because of the loud music from the drinking joint. To worsen the situation, the area has suddenly becoming a safe place for prostitution and smoking. Our children are daily exposed to these vices and it is not good for their future," she stated.

She, however, acknowledged that she has not contacted any relevant agency to address the situation, adding that she has lost confidence in some of the FCT Agencies.



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