At the ‘first’ and likely ‘the last’ meeting for the year held today btw the reinstated AEPB management and the Board’s Cleaning Contractors, the AEPB Director, Mallam Baba Lawan Shehu spelt out to the cleaning contractors what they must do to stay in business or avoid intervention cost deductions from their fees.
The three items on the Agenda which included Analysis of the status of city cleanliness; Way Forward and; Seamless service during the Yuletide clearly reflected the grim mood of the Meeting.
Baba Lawan stated that the Board will not hesitate to carry out intervention on any of the lots managed by the contractors where sanitary standards required in the city were not met &the contractor concerned charged accordingly.
He said this hard stance was in line with the stiff mandate handed down to the Board by the FCT Minister to justify their return. He vowed that he would leave no stone unturned to ensure AEPB performed optimally in line with the vision of being the foremost Environmental Protection Agency in Nigeria and indeed Africa and also in an unrelenting pursuit of the mandate to make Abuja a world class city comparable to other first class cities of the world in line with the vision of the FCT Administration.
He noted that the board’s tour of the 27 cleaning lots in the city revealed serious shortcomings in the overall performance of the contractors but was quick to acknowledge that not all of them have done so badly.
Shortcomings identified include:
* poor supervision/monitoring by cleaning contractors
* indiscriminate disposal of waste by cleaners
* burning of gathered waste in contravention of AEPB laws
*disposal of waste into open drains & manholes which potend grave future environmental dangers and avoidable financial burden for the Administration
* poor waste transportation habits that cause street litter that defeats the aim of waste evacuation itself.
* dirty waste trucks that leave terrible, hazardous smell in their wake
* outright cheating by some contractors who undercut the Board by doing less evacuation trips than they get paid for.
“Things must change,” he warned. To address these myriad of problems the Board directed the following immediately:
+ improved supervision of cleaners.
+ avoiding the use of outer bucket of compacting trucks for waste and use of tarpaulins to cover waste where tippers are used.
+ provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) for cleaners
+ greater honesty in contractors’ operations & desist from claiming payment for work not done.
+ use of the Washing Bay provided by the AEPB for washing of their waste disposal trucks on a regular basis.
The Director assured the contractors that all the processes concerning their last quarter payment has been concluded and forwarded for early payment which could be any time soon as the Administration is keen on clearing all oustanding debts to enable them start on a clean slate in 2018.
He urged them to assist the Board in identifying black spots for all forms of nuisances, criminalty and criminal elements. This, he assured, would assist FCTA to ensure a more sustainable environment for all.
He stated that all the measures being taken were geared towards better service delivery.
It would be recalled that the overriding purpose of providing the washing bay, in particular, was not only to keep waste vehicles clean, but also smelling good through deodorization and free of harmful bacteria through disinfection.
He promised a committee to look into all areas of disagreements between both parties to ensure a clean city and mutual benefit for all.