2009 Nigeria: Abuja Scavenger Makes Usd1.00 Daily

By Adeola Aderounmu

A few days ago in Abuja a group of women waylaid the FCT Minister. Apparently these women representing families that have been deprived of electricity supply for several weeks decided to embarrass the Minister as he was leaving his electric-powered house for his comfortable office in a long convoy.

Somehow the Minister Adamu Aliero managed to get the NEPA manager in Abuja to the site where he was being detained and interrogated by the helpless but determined mothers and wives. The NEPA manager promised for the umpteenth time that electricity will be restored to the area. But he said that the power supply for the next few months will probably be between the hours of 7-10 am daily.

I was shocked when the women agreed with such a proposition. But then can anyone blame them? They are probably aware that some parts of Nigeria have been in darkness for several years. With Nigerian total power generation fast approaching 0 MW, they must know that they can’t ask or get too much from a very slow poison government (VSPG). So the anticipation of electricity for 3 hours per day will be a privilege if NEPA works out a solution. However, I seriously doubt that they will get 3 h/day supply of electricity.

I spent most of 2001 fighting a war against NEPA. Residents of 23 Road/402 Road Axes of Festac Town would never forget how I risk the lives of their children to NEPA Alausa, NEPA 512 Road and NEPA Agboju almost every other day. We even stopped at LTV Ikeja on our way. We made the newspapers, we made the TVs but we labored in vain. I know NEPA very well; it’s an acronym for DARKNESS and STONE AGE.

I have also seen a report that showed how wastes are disposed indiscriminately in Abuja. Senate committee members’ pretending to be doing their work were threatening to summon 3 ministers to the house of assembly as if the assembly has done any tangible thing in 2 years apart from sharing money. The FCT minister, the health minister and the minister in charge of the Environment don’t have to worry. Once the senate committee members are settled by the concerned contractors and agents, they will shut up.

In that same report you could see recycling facilities that have been built for upwards of 20 billion naira performing below capacity or not functioning at all. One of the inefficient sewage handling facility runs on 8 million naira diesel monthly. How true is that? 8 million naira monthly on diesel! Where are the contractors who built malfunctioning waste-handling facilities?

One Nigerian man, an Abuja scavenger makes 200 naira daily from toiling and searching for useful materials on the expanse of land housing Abuja rubbishes. By selling plastics or other useful materials, this scavenger makes approximately Usd1.00 daily. This is not a revelation. It is well known that this country flowing with milk, money and honey has about 70% of the population living below the poverty line, and about 54% of the population living on less than a dollar per day. It is just remarkable that while politicians, looters and contractors are making several billions of naira/dollars in less than 1 year, there are people making less than N70 000 annually! Some people do not make money at all and they have no known form of social security.

Was I the only one who heard Adamu Aliero saying that the (Human) Rehabilitation Centers in Abuja needs rehabilitation? This was in response to how the FCT can help homeless and less privileged people in Abuja. Adamu came across as a very confused person. What does it mean to say that a rehabilitation center needs rehabilation? Who is not confused or indolent among the entire members of the VSPG?

I don’t think Adamu knows what is called “from waste to wealth”. It is unfortunate that the (easy) oil money, corruption, irresponsible acts, ineptitude and mediocrity in governance do not allow us to have people who appreciate the existence of other resources in Nigeria. That waste in Abuja and elsewhere in Nigeria are money spinning industries that are lying in desolation-double wahala if you ask me. That scavenger can be gainfully employed if the recycling facility is working. He would even be a tax-payer! How much damage have we done to the Nigerian economy by relegating Agriculture, Education, Science, Medicine and Technology?

The present administration in Nigeria is one that is a complete failure. Unfortunately for ordinary Nigerians things are even going to get worse because at this moment the attention is now on 2015 Elections. 2011 Elections are almost over and governance is at a standstill in 2009. David Mark who constantly reminds me of how Nigeria became a failed country has canvassed for automatic tickets for all senators and Iwu the chief forger must have finished compiling the fabricated results. The cycle of idiocy has just been renewed, 2 years in advance.

It takes a combination of foolishness and stupidity to believe in something called vision 20-2020 in a very corrupt and unserious country. What happened to shelter for all by the year 2000? In this backward moving country, MDG have become Millennium Death Goals. Nigeria is too corrupt to achieve goals and targets. We must strive (even if it means against all odds) to counter the maneuvers of the politicians who have failed to deliver until now. We can do it, it is possible.

The channel from a failed state to a sustainable state is convoluted and only a purposeful leadership can navigate clearly to take us there. Miracles apart, it will at least 50 years and we are not even on the starting block yet. As we endure the last 2 years of this extremely wasteful and disgraceful illegal regime, we must prepare for the future of our children’s children. As we approach 2011 let all responsible and well-meaning Nigerians come together and form the most assertive (single) medium of CHANGE known to mankind. It may be the last chance for this generation to take back what is theirs from a formidable gang of rogues.

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One thought on “2009 Nigeria: Abuja Scavenger Makes Usd1.00 Daily

  1. Aderounmu….
    First I think we must never be tired of talking, prodding and kicking until we get what we want and I am thankful that someone is doing that.

    However, the Nigerian case requires a revolution. There is no dignity of labour in Nigeria… Employees are not respected in the country and a country that despises its human capital can never grow.
    When you mentioned the scavenger that earns $1/day, what comes to my mind is the other forms of scavengers earning $mm in a day by way of looting the treasury and the abuse of power. What an irony! what is required is a paradigm shift… Is it a wonder Obama did not go to Nigeria when he visited Africa? Well, we have no corporate governance; we pay lip service to a lot of stuff; we don’t live what we talk… Most of our leaders are short-sighted; the ones that are not, are incapacitated…what more can I say? We need to begin to form a coalition of force ready to sacrifice for the country and people who are not soiled by the decadence in our society…..Lets articulate concrete steps that will take us as a nation forward…. There must be a CHANGE

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