Officials of the Abuja Municipal Area Council made startling discoveries on Wednesday when they embarked on the evacuation of street traders at Nyanya Market.
Correspondents of the News Agency of Nigeria who accompanied the enforcement team, report that a school operating illegally and a shop housing commercial sex workers and smokers were uncovered.
The team met the “school” in session with about 80 pupils between ages two and seven years learning in a shop measuring 4×4 feet without ventilation.
Alice Hogan, owner of the school, Wisdom Nursery School, located in the heart of Nyanya Market, told journalists that the school had been in operation for the past 10 years.
Hogan, who claimed to hold a National Certificate in Education, admitted that she had no licence to operate the school.
She said she was inspired to set up the school to meet the needs traders who brought their children to the market, adding that it was her own little way of contributing to the education of the children.
She further said the high unemployment rate in the country frustrated her resolve to own a school.
Hogan said: “I was looking for a place to start a school after I had looked for a paid job and could not get one.
“I resolved to use this shop because it belongs to my husband and what we do is just to pay revenue to the government.
“When I started the school, I made a ‘batcher’ at the back of the shop and put the children inside for teaching.
“Though I have no licence to operate, I run the school so as to help the market people groom their children for primary school.”
NAN reports that the pupils are in a stressed-laden and noisy environment not conducive for learning.
A teacher, who, with Hogan manages the school, took to her heels on sighting security personnel.
While reacting to the development, Henrientta Nwosu, a mother and civil servant, appealed to the FCT Education authorities to, as a matter of urgency, regulate and monitor schools in the territory.
Nwosu said such schools should be under lock and their owners arrested to serve as a deterrent to others.
She said: “What I just saw here is a criminal act.
“The appropriate authority, after closing the school, should get the owner arrested.
“We cannot all keep our eyes closed.
“Parents should stand up to their responsibilities of protecting the right of their wards.
“These children can get suffocated in this one room shop accommodating about 80 children all in the name of learning.
“The government should please come quickly and rescue these children.”
NAN also reports that officials of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, who accompanied the enforcement team, promptly arrested three girls and two men engaged in sexual activities in the shop turned into a brothel.