By Jacob Niru (UPNG Journalism Student) – EM TV, Port Moresby
City rangers enforcing the betel nut ban in Port Moresby have been warned to adhere to the betel nut law and regulations when doing their job.
This concern comes following an incident last week when a youth at Waigani Market was apprehended by city rangers in relation to betel nut consumption.
He was taken to the police station by the rangers, but on-duty police said there was no law that gives city authorities the right to charge anybody with a betel nut stained mouth.
The resident said some actions of the NCD betel nut enforcers are illegal, and not covered in the Betel Nut Act.
The victim, who didn’t want to reveal his identity, appealed to NCD’s City Watch group to understand clearly all aspects of the Betel Nut Act, before enforcing it.
The youth was forced to Waigani Police Station to be arrested by the police, despite lack of clarity around potential charges.
‘’I am one of those citizens who wish to keep Port Moresby city clean and promote a decent environment,” the youth said.
He said the betel nut ban has made the city clean but on the other hand, the ordinary people who live through the sale and consumption has greatly affected.
He said he was not chewing the betel nut when he was approached by the rangers.
The youth told the rangers that there are some areas not clearly stipulated by the new act, and to therefore exercise caution in its enforcement.
The youth was released at the scene.
Meanwhile, the Governor of National Capital District, Powes Parkop, has relaxed the betel nut ban and allowed the residents to undertake sale and consumption of betelnut at designated markets and not everywhere in the city.
Parkop said the lift of the ban is to test the public behaviour, and that’s only six months.
The governor said if people fail to obey to the laws and behave in a disorderly fashion, he is more than happy to lift the permit of sale and consumption of betel nut.