Nigeria: Cholera Looms As Refuse Heaps Litter Abuja

5 October 2021

Abuja — Residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have continued to express fear of the possibility of the outbreak of cholera and other gastrointestinal diseases over the mountains of refuse that have lately become a feature in the nation's capital.

The FCT has one of the nation's highest cholera incidents for this year due to the poor hygiene in places people dwell.

Major streets in the city and those in the satellite towns were littered with garbage with the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) and Satellite Town Development Development (STDD) making little or no efforts at evacuating them.

Virtually a lane, adjacent the INEC Commissioner's quarter in the high brow Guzape District has been taken over by pile of refuse. It is also the same situation in the upscale Asokoro, where almost all the streets are littered with refuse dumps.

Interestingly it is in Asokoro that almost all the state governments have their multi-billion naira lodges.

Deputy Director of Information, AEPB, Janet Peni, has not been forthcoming on the issue.

AEPB is statutorily in charge of waste management in Asokoro, Maitama and other places that fall within the jurisdiction of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC).

The situation was even more worrisome in satellite towns, like Lugbe, Karu, Kubwa, Deidei, Mpape Gwagwalada and Nyanya where traders indiscriminately display their ware, including vegetable and fruits close to open dumps and in some cases right on those dumps.

It might however shock residents to realise that Director AEPB, Abubakar Alhassan, who has the mandate of ensuring cleanliness of the city has been rather preoccupied with shifting official files around, as he has just three weeks before his statutory retirement from the civil service.

One of the waste management contractors, who pleaded anonymity, disclosed that evacuation of refuse has been tardy following delays in payment.

He bemoaned that most of the contractors were frustrated and stressed, as they now resort to borrowing to pay workers on an installment basis.

This, he noted has led to some categories of workers, who were not comfortable with the delayed mode of payment, to refuse to come to work.

"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," the contractor said.

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