Residents of Gwarinpa, an estate in Abuja, say the Abuja Environmental Protection Board neglects its duty.
Residents of Gwarinpa Estate have accused the Abuja administration of failing in its duties to ensure prompt and regular disposal of waste, thereby causing a health hazard to the community.
The residents said that the infrequent disposal of waste by the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, AEPB, posed a health hazard to residents of Nigeria’s largest estate.
The residents on Wednesday said that the board had shown “some laxity” in carrying out its duty within the estate.
A businessman, Paul Adei, who resides at 6th avenue, Gwarinpa, observed that most times, waste remained in front of his house for weeks, resulting in bad odour pervading the environment.
Mr. Adei, therefore, appealed to the board to be more serious in the discharge its duties, stressing that the absence of an efficient waste disposal strategy posed a threat to human life.
A civil servant and resident, Shade George, said it is saddening to observe that waste lay unattended for long periods around the estate.
“This is not acceptable. There are people in charge of disposing this waste; but anytime I pass round some areas in the estate, I see waste by the road side,” she said.
Ms. George called on the board to assist in keeping the environment clean by assigning a monitoring unit to always move round to ensure proper waste disposal.
A house wife, Aisha Habu, said that people brought out waste from their homes on daily basis and if not properly disposed, it would continue to pile up.
She said it was unhealthy for waste to pile up in residential areas and advised that the relevant authorities should be alive to their responsibilities so that environment could remain clean and habitable.
Administration threatens residents
Reacting to the issue, the Abuja administration rationalized that the problem may continue till August; and threatened the residents with legal actions over improper waste management.
Joe Ukairo, the Head, Information and Outreach Programme of the Board, claimed that in the last two months, there had been a remarkable improvement in waste collection and disposal in Gwarinpa.
He said that the development followed several complaints by some residents late last year about the laxity of the waste management contractor handling the area.
“We have since then changed the contractor in charge of the estate, who has been working for two months now,” he claimed.
The Abuja spokesperson said that contractors faced a challenge in terms of the size of the estate, adding that by August 2013, more contractors would be assigned to the area.
Mr. Ukairo also explained that residents had a duty and responsibility to complain to the board, if they were not receiving appropriate services.
“AEPB operates an open door policy whereby residents are free to call our SERVICOM hotline or the FCT Call Centre toll free lines and register their complaints,” he said.
He called on residents to play their part for efficient service delivery by purchasing standard waste bins to store their waste, pending the time the contractor would come around.
Mr. Ukairo noted that most times, residents deposited waste on the bare floor, thereby defacing the environment; adding that defaulters would face appropriate legal sanctions.