•  FCT authorities not up to task, say residents 
  • We’ve waste to wealth policy in place –AMAC

 JOSEPHINE ELLA-EJEH, ABUJA 

Uba Group

More than two decades after the seat of power moved from Lagos to Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, the dream of having a capital city that is in tandem with major cities across the globe, is still a mirage.

The founding fathers of the FCT had conceptualised a modern city with all its comforts – in terms of social amenities, infrastructural development, and cleanliness, among others.

Particularly, it would, however, seem that waste management has remained an “insurmountable” challenge for the FCT. This is especially so in the satellite towns of the city, which accommodate a larger population of those dwelling in the territory.

Checks by The Point revealed overflowing heaps of garbage and refuse concealed in polythene bags lying unattended, by the roadside, road pavements, or flower beds in these parts of the FCT. These are very common sights in Karu, Nyanya, Jikwoyi, Kubwa, Dutse and Bwari, among others.

Observers say, though past administrations in the FCT had made efforts to rid the territory of this menace, no tangible, sustained results have been achieved. Rather, it seems the city is drifting faster into filth.

The Abuja Environmental Protection Board has over the years concentrated its efforts on the city centre. But some parts of the highbrow areas like Wuse, Maitama, Utako, Jabi, Gwarimpa and Asokoro are not left out in the spectre of filth.

Some residents of the city are of the opinion that the relevant authorities, saddled with the task of keeping the city clean, are not doing enough. Others too think the problem is largely due to the lack of enforcement of existing environmental rules by the government.

RESIDENTS LAMENT

A cross-section of Abuja residents, who spoke with The Point, noted that tangible and sustained results in the fight against indiscriminate dumping of refuse could only be achieved if perpetrators are punished accordingly.

“Generally, many Nigerians have the tendency of being lawless; so what do you expect in a situation where they are allowed to do whatever they want without being punished? They will naturally go haywire. That is why you see people dumping waste at unimaginable places,” Lovelyn Ocholi, a resident of Karu, said.

According to her, “Government needs to exercise the expected political will to bring culprits to book. Everybody must be held accountable for their actions. If and when people are sanctioned, either through fine or jail terms for such unacceptable behaviour, they will learn to do the right thing and then we can have the kind of clean city we are dreaming of.”

On his part, Bulus Pam, a resident of Nyanya, said the agencies responsible for sanitising the FCT lacked the required capacity needed for the job. He said, “They say Abuja is one of the fastest growing cities in the world, yet we have refuse littering everywhere. Most of the drainages are blocked and when it rains in some areas, the roads are blocked. Take for instance, places like the Airport Junction, Jabi and Nyanya, people deliberately drop refuse to block the drainages.

“Also, if the refuse collectors don’t go round on time to collect the refuse dumped, the rain or wind will blow them into the drainages. So my conclusion is that Abuja is not a clean city because there is no active waste management agency or organisation that will manage

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