By Okwe Obi
The business of scavengers is primarily the collection of wastes from trash bins. It is not a rocket science identifying them as they are shabbily dressed. They clutch bags and sticks with which they collect items they deem useful.
Some of them make use of trucks that ferry items from dump sites. When they collect these wastes, they sell some while they recycle others such as aluminium, leathers, shoes and electrical appliances. They make brisk money from it.
Regardless of where refuse is they are ready to go in search of what to sell. They are mostly seen around Mabushi, Apo, Mararaba axis. Uncompleted buildings are not spared as they sometime stash their collections therein.
Adamu Kabir, a 35-old man, said he has been doing the business for as long as he could remember.
“The business is very lucrative. People see and despise us. But I have been able to train my children through secondary school,” he said.
Of recent, Abuja residents are becoming vigilant whenever scavengers are in sight. The liberty they get in entering people’s houses have been restricted. The reason is that they are being accused of stealing useful items.
When they visit an environment and discover that residents are not around or no one is not watching they steal, all in the name of searching for condemned items.
Mr Audu Ahmed, a security guard said that he saw one of them removing a CCTV along Mugadishu cantonment. When he raised alarm, the scavenger took to his heels.
“When I shouted at him, he ran and started abusing me. He asked me if the property was mine. They are always hovering around this area. When they see that nobody is looking at them they will look for something to steal.”
Mr Yusuf Tunde, a driver, said he saw one of them removing a security light from a fence around Mobolaji Johnson street, Apo.
The liberty they get in entering people’s houses have been restricted, giving that they are being accused of taking peoples useful items without permission.
When they visit an environment and discover that residents are not around or someone is not watching they steal, all in the name of searching for condemned items.
“I was carrying a passenger, when we arrived at the area, I saw this guy struggling with the security bulb. When he saw us approaching he pretended to be scavenging from a bin nearby. If not for the passenger I was carrying, I would have accosted him,” he said.
Emmanuel, who is handling a building construction project lamented how rods develop wings and flew away.
Upon probing, it was discovered that one of the scavengers who sleeps in the house he is supervising connived with his friend to cart away the material.
“When I told him to go get my rods, the friend had sold them for a much cheaper rate,” he lamented.
A visit to where they offload their goods and sell along Banex Junction, showed they have valuable items ranging from television and radio sets, phones, NYSC kits, pressing iron, wall sockets, car parts etc.
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One would be quick to counter the allegations of people as they are helping to keep the environment clean, but when keeping the environment clean becomes a problem then something needs to be done to curb the trend.