By Sarah NEGEDU
Residents of the Federal Capital Territory have expressed worry over the number of refuse dumps on major streets and polluting the environment in most parts of the city centre and surrounding satellite towns.
A cross section of residents, who spoke with our correspondent, say the number of refuse dumps on the streets and major access roads have increased in geometric progression, with little or no efforts at evacuating them.
In the highbrow area of Guzape District, stinking refuse dump has claimed one lane of a major road, close to the INEC Commissioner’s quarters.
The situation is not any better at Asokoro, where most of the state governments have their multi-billion naira Governor’s Lodges located as there is hardly a street of the district not dotted with refuse dump.
Similarly, satellite towns like Lugbe, Karu, Kubwa, Dei-dei, Mpape Gwagwalada and Nyanya have become a shadow of themselves as traders struggle for limited space in community markets to display their goods.
More disturbing to residents is the fact that the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, AEPB, is more concerned with seizing goods from traders than bothering about sanitary condition of the city.
Sources at the AEPB claim that the director of the board, Abubakar Alhassan, is busy making arrangement for his retirement from civil service in a few weeks, to bother about refuse evacuation.
The source further alleged that the director is not interested in pushing the overdue payment files of the cleaning contractors, which is the major reason for the increasing number of refuse dumps on the streets, but has been more proactive in processing his retirement benefits.
One of the waste management contractors, who pleaded anonymity, disclosed that evacuation of refuse has been very slow, following delays in payment.
He lamented that most of the contractors have been frustrated and over stressed, because they now borrow money to pay workers on installment and some categories of workers who are not comfortable with the delayed payment, have stopped coming to work.
According to the contractor, “it is only few street sweepers who accept a token from their wages, that are still coming to work, while the truck drivers who evacuate dumps from streets had downed tools to protest delays in their payment schedule.”
Efforts to reach the director on his known mobile line were unsuccessful.