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FCTA to seal up govt offices, hotels over N10bn debt

As workers prepare to resume work after the Easter holiday, some government offices, hotels, plazas and other business premises may be under lock and key due to debt owed to the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB).

This is coming on the heels of the Task Team set up by the FCTA Permanent Secretary Olusade Adesola to recover over N10 billion owed the AEPB by several government agencies, business premises and residential apartments in the nation’s capital.

This information was disclosed by the Director of AEPB, Osilama Briamah, while addressing journalists on the issue over the weekend.

According to Mr Briamah, the Task Team, which is to be headed by him, has been mandated to apply all legal means to recover the huge sums of money from the debtors, adding that the debts accrued over time due to the failure of those concerned to pay for services rendered by the AEPB.

“All of us desire to live and work in a world-class city compared to other beautiful cities around the world,” he said, “But we can only do that successfully if we behave as responsible citizens by paying our utility bills, especially for solid and liquid waste collection.

“Unfortunately, many agencies, residential apartments, hotels, plazas and so on, are not paying their bills as expected. That makes it difficult to raise the money needed to manage a mega-city like Abuja.”

He said that beginning from 05:30 AM on Tuesday, April 19, based on a court order already obtained by the AEPB, the Task Team will embark on mass seal-up of these facilities with the aim of recovering the huge money being owed.

He complained that the AEPB had made moves to provide soft-landing for the debtors through negotiated settlements, but to no avail, adding that the only option left was to apply the legal means by enforcing the court order to seal-up the affected premises.

The Director, however, said the affected debtors can avoid the impending embarrassment by ensuring prompt payment of their liabilities. 

He explained that the payments can be made conveniently through the Remita portal.

Reporting by Aliyu Ibrahim; Editing by Daniel Adejo and Tony Okerafor