Some street sweepers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Wednesday, raised concerns over the unsafe work condition in the city.
The sweepers, who spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said that one of their challenges was inadequate provision of safety materials.
According to the sweepers, materials such as reflective jackets, signposts and hand gloves if provided would make for easier and effective service delivery and protection.
Mrs Rosemary Elisha, a sweeper said that the present economic condition of the country prompted her to take the job.
She said that it was not easy bending down every day for hours to sweep the streets, adding that it has adverse effect on her health.
“Many women have died in the cause of this work as a result of nonchalant attitude of our employers and some reckless drivers.
“Our employers should try and provide safety working materials such as hand gloves, long brooms, among others for us; the working conditions they subject us to is very poor and inhuman.
“They do not care about how we feel, all they want is for the road to be clean at all times without considering our health and safety,’’she said.
Similarly, Mrs Blessing Ude said that the issue of welfare should be paramount and should be looked into by the authority.
She added that their take home pay was insufficient and could hardly take care of their needs.
Ude also said that the sweepers have been marginalised in spite their efforts to ensure the city was clean at all times.
She said:“This job is not a decent job that anybody can boast of, it is so tedious and dangerous, yet we are being treated as if we are not making any effort.’’
According to Ude, she spends much on drugs in order not to fall sick, adding that some of the sweepers have developed one ailment or the other due to stress from the job.
She however, called on the relevant authorities to look into their plight and come up with better incentives and welfare package.
In his reaction, Mr Muktar Ibrahim, the Head, Information and Outreach Unit in Abuja Environment Protection Board, (AEPB) said that the board had taken adequate measures to ensure that the sweepers are protected in the FCT.
According to Ibrahim, the board has been having series of meetings with the cleaning contractors to ensure that the sweepers were well treated.
“We had an agreement with the contractors to ensure better welfare for the sweepers.
“They should also ensure that they pay them at the right time, provide their working materials adequately and make sure that they are protected from environmental hazards.
“We told them that if they violate the agreement the board will take necessary action.
“I believe that the series of meetings with them will yield a positive change,”he said. (NAN)