Fear of epidemic looms in Abuja, as refuse dumps litter Abuja streets

Fears of an epidemic loom in the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT), where mountains of garbage vie with inhabitants for limited space in the city center and nearby satellite towns.

Residents have expressed concern that the number of waste dumps on the streets and major access roads have been increasing in a geometric trend for some time, with little or no effort made to remove them.

A filthy garbage dump has taken over one lane of a major road in Guzape District’s upscale section, close to the INEC Commissioner’s apartments.

Investigations also revealed that in Asokoro, where most State governments’ multibillion-naira Governors’ Lodges are located, there is scarcely a street without a waste dump.

The situation is considerably worse in satellite towns like Lugbe, Karu, Kubwa, Deidei, Mpape Gwagwalada, and Nyanya, where traders sell their wares, including vegetables and fruits, beside stench-filled trash dumps, and in some cases directly on the dumps.

More concerning to residents is the fact that Abubakar Alhassan, the Director of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), who should have been at the forefront of the city’s sanitation, was said to be busy moving official files around as he approaches his statutory retirement from the civil service in three weeks.

According to an AEPB source, the Director is not interested in pressing the cleaning contractors’ outstanding payment files, which is one of the key causes of the growing garbage dumps on the streets, but is more diligent in processing his retirement benefits.

However, Janet Peni, the AEPB’s Deputy Director of Information, has remained tight-lipped on the matter, another source in the FCT Administration’s Permanent Secretary’s office noted that the director who meets with the Permanent Secretary on a regular basis is more interested in transactions that benefit his own self-interest than discussing how the contractors will be paid.

Following payment delays, one of the trash management companies, who requested anonymity, revealed that the evacuation of refuse has been particularly slow.

The man bemoaned the fact that most contractors are dissatisfied and overworked as a result of having to borrow money to pay workers in installments, and that some workers who aren’t happy with the delayed payment have quit going to work.

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