It is no longer news that scavengers have constituted themselves as nuisance to the residents of Federal Capital Territory (FCT). They have no time for rules or schedules as they carry out their businesses.
The quest for money, food and entertainment has pushed most of them into anti-social activities such as house-breaking, pick-pocketing and molestation of children and women.
According to people living on the outskirts of the city, they no longer dry their clothes outside their homes because they are not likely to see them again. They complain that scavengers steal clothes and other things they can lay their hands on.
They are also said to be responsible for the high level of generator theft (I pass my Neighbour). They visit places at odd hours, when most people must have gone to their places of work. Most of them pick-pocket in crowded places like Berger and Nyanya during rush hours.
A housewife living at Nyanya axis of Abuja, narrated her ordeal in the hands of a scavenger who walked into the compound while she was the only one around. She said she was nearly raped inher house. She ran out of the compound and the man ran after her.
“While he was waiting for her, her shouting attracted some people who came to overpower him. Most of these scavengers feel they are above the law and even the security agencies don’t take their matters seriously.”
Scavengers are becoming time bomb on the lives of Abuja residents. Titus from Mopol Junction in Nyanya said his previous generating set was stolen by scavengers.
He saw the generator before going to work:
“They took the generator and kept some condemned iron for me there and I could trace the line of their wheel- barrow. That was what made me to know it was them.
“The case of generator theft is very high in our area. When I bought this new one, I decided to make an iron cage for it. Most people have been complaining of their violent reaction anytime you see them with stolen materials.”
A woman from Kubwa, Ochie, said in her area one can no longer spread clothes under sun and go out or leave one’s shoes in front of one’s door without someone watching it: “Any day you are washing, you must be ready to keep watch and if you leave the compound, you may not meet your materials.
“A neighbour had a guest and they were inside while the visitor pulled his pair of shoes outside, only for him to come out and met a pair of dirty slippers in place of the shoes.”
Adah Joy from Mpape said a scavenger threatened to cut her throat because of her pot of rice: “I was cooking and
saw him sitting afar of. I never knew he was monitoring me.
Immediately I dropped the pot of rice, he rushed me and brought out a dagger from his bag threatening to kill me if I shouted. I had to release the food and run away. We went to bed without food that night but I am happy I am alive.”
Another woman in Wuse who would not want her name in print disclosed how she was nearly raped in her house by a scavenger:
“I heard movements in the compound and came out to see who it was. On seeing a man with a bag, I told him that the waste box was outside but the man started making advances at me. He tried to grab me and I pushed him and ran out of the gate. If not for the help of the men outside, I don’t know what would have happened that day because he was fearless.”
A banker, Ejembi, residing at Maitama, called on the Federal Government to monitor the movement of scavengers:
“Most of them are seen moving around the town with fully loaded wheelbarrows, to the extent that they can’t view oncoming vehicles or persons. This can easily lead to accident.”