Many meanings of Mararaba’s refuse dump site

Scavengers at work PHOTO: ADAMU ABUH

Scavengers at work PHOTO: ADAMU ABUH

For 40-year-old Malam Nasiru Duniya, an indigene of Zamfara State, the refuse dump along the Mararaba-Nyanya-Abuja expressway is a blessing. He is one of dozens of able-bodied people who visit the dump in search of valuables items.

According to Duniya, he earns N500-N1000 daily from sale of the items he scavenges. “I buy food and the water I drink every day from the money I make here. All I do is come here and search for plastics, shoes, tin containers, aluminum products and others. I have been doing this business for the past eight years and I don’t have any regret. I bought three cows and a plot of land back home in Zamfara and have even built a house.”

Duniya is not alone. Thirty-one-year-old, Lawal Nadari, from Bakori, Katsina State earns more. With N1,200-N1,500 everyday, Nadari said he has every cause to be grateful to God.

“I have been in this business for 12 years. I have built a house in Bakori and bought seven cows. I have also invested in a corn farm in my village. When it is harvest time, I sell the corn and buy more cows. So, you can see how very useful this business has been to me. I am also married and I feed my wife from what I get here every day.”

But not everyone thinks the dump is a good idea.

A motorist, Mr. Usman Musa is unhappy that the mountain causes traffic gridlock and waste of precious hours. “The road becomes very narrow when you get to this spot. You find vehicles on four lanes scrambling for the available one lane. You can imagine the commotion that always follows.”

On his part, Mr. Okpara Chris, a tailor, blamed the dump for periodic accidents involving vehicles and motorcycles on the highway. “As you can see for yourself, our business has been paralysed. We are helpless. If you come here everyday, you will see accidents. Three days ago, a commercial motorcyclist ran into the dump and fell with his passenger. I am told he eventually died while the passenger sustained injuries. This is what we experience here everyday. The government should come to our rescue. Next to my shop is a restaurant. How do you expect those who eat here to be free from communicable diseases.”

While the eyesore and nauseating stench stun hundreds of motorists who ply the road daily, it appears the Nasarawa sanitation agency is not aware of the menace.

Or is it?

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