Commercial sex work, street beg-ging and trading are prohibited under the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB ) Act of 1997, the agency has stressed.
Head of Information and Outreach Programmes of the board, Mr Joe Ukairo, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, on Thursday, that these activities constituted social menace and would not be allowed.
Ukairo stated this against the backdrop of appeals of hawkers for the provision of an alternative location to enable them to conduct their business activities.
“There is no sentiment, street begging, trading and prostitution are prohibited under the AEPB Act of 1997 Section 35.
“These are social menace, the social development secretariat has done so much trying to rehabilitate the commercial sex workers and beggars.
“We arrest and prosecute them and hand them over to the Society Against Prostitution and Child Labour, which takes them to the rehabilitation centres,” he said.
Some of the hawkers who spoke with NAN said that they resorted to hawking because they could not afford the high cost of renting shops at the market.
They, however, commended the efforts of the AEPB towards sanitising the Abuja metropolis.
The hawkers also said, if given suitable alternatives, such as the gardens around the market, they would go off the streets.
One of the hawkers, Baba Yusuf, said “I am speaking the minds of many hawkers selling around here, if we are given these two gardens which are not being used, we will keep them clean and safe.
Miss Chidinma Nwachukwu, a trader in the market, also said “If the government will succeed in its war against street trading, so many things should be put in place.