By Chris Ochayi
The Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has frowned at indiscriminate dumping of refuse and the littering of streets, roads and waterways with garbage in the nation’s capital.
Dr. Aliyu spoke at a one-day training organised by a Non Governmental Organisation, NGO, Initiative for Advancement of Waste Management in Africa (WASTE Africa) or litter pickers in Abuja recently.
She noted that the FCT was faced with the challenges of waste management owing to frequency of household waste collections and the limited collection coverage.
The minister, however, commended Initiative for Advancement of Waste Management in Africa (WASTE Africa) for empowering litter pickers in the nation’s capital.
The training was supported by the Swiss Embassy in Nigeria, Chanja Datti and the Coca-Cola Foundation.
Dr. Aliyu who was represented at the occasion by the Acting Coordinator of Satellite Towns Development Department (STDD), Engr. Felix Nwankwo, noted that the training is a bold step towards ensuring that the environments are clean both in the City Centre and the Satellite Towns.
She said that as part of measures to curb some of the solid waste management issues experienced in the nation’s capital, the STDD engaged cleaning contractors who employed litter control staff to clean the streets in the satellite towns.
According to her, “It must be acknowledged that efficient solid waste management is a major challenge for developing countries including Nigeria. The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) which serves as the seat of government is also faced with the challenges of waste management.
“The frequency of household waste collections and the limited collection coverage has resulted to indiscriminate dumping of refuse and the littering of our streets, roads and waterways with garbage.
“To curb some of the solid waste management issues experienced in the nation’s capital, the Satellite Town Development Department (STDD) engaged cleaning contractors who employed litter control staff to clean the streets in our satellite towns.
”These workers are keeping our environments clean and protecting us from the health hazards of littering”.
Aliyu said the training by WASTE Africa shows FCT Administration’s readiness to partner with stakeholders to make the environment clean and healthy.
In her remarks, Programme Manager, WASTE Africa, Ms. Juliet Odhikori said the training aim at educating the litter pickers in safe and healthy ways of doing their job.
It also aim at making them plan for their future, she added. The Embassy of Switzerland in a speech by a Programme Officer, Ojoma Ali, said that with support to the project, 500 waste collectors who are dependent on waste for livelihood, are provided with Health and Safety training, and have access to subsidized health insurance and personal protective equipment.
“This donation from the people and Government of Switzerland is in recognition of the desire for a better and cleaner world.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Mrs Ladi Tanze, said the training will change their attitude to the job.
A representative of Jaiz Bank was on hand to deliver a lecture on financial literacy.