From Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure

The National Association of Scrap and Waste Dealers Employers of Nigeria has called for greater synergy with security operatives in the country to combat vandalism.

The association also announced its decision to embark on data capturing of all its members. This initiative aims to properly identify everyone involved in the scrap and waste collection business nationwide.

The association’s founding fathers stated that this decision was made to differentiate legitimate members from suspected criminals who may be using the scrap collection business as a cover.

The association expressed concern about the perception of some members being mistaken for criminals. They highlighted the fact that criminals often disguise themselves as waste and scrap dealers.

Alhaji Lateef Sulaimon, the association’s national chairman, said the founding fathers and board of trustees resolved to conduct the data-capturing exercise to ensure criminals have nowhere to hide.

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“In recent times, there is a wide belief that scrap and waste dealers are criminally minded because of the activities of some who move about as scrap dealers and steal properties of innocent people as well as vandalize government and public properties,” Sulaimon said.

Comrade Stephen Isobomuwa Obayuwana, the association’s General Secretary, urged scrap and waste dealers across the country to conduct their business legitimately and participate in the data-capturing exercise.

Alhaji Ibrahim Soja, a member of the association’s Board of Trustees, echoed this sentiment, stating that those giving the profession a bad name need to be identified so that the public can develop a more positive perception.

Soja emphasized the difference between scrap and waste dealers and scavengers, highlighting that the former are law-abiding citizens who should not be associated with criminal activities. He warned those using the business as a cover for crime to desist, as there will be no hiding place for criminals.

Comrade Edward Ilah, one of the association’s founding fathers, called on members of the public to report any suspected criminal activity to association officials or security operatives. He also advocated for stronger collaboration with security operatives, particularly the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), to combat vandalism.

The association announced the establishment of a special task force to travel across the country to ensure that all scrap and waste dealers are genuine and registered. They vowed to take decisive action against any unregistered individuals found operating in the industry.

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