A young woman covers her nose as she spits on the pavement by the Berger Roundabout bus stop on the Wuse-Berger road. The stench from the green area down the slope on the right hand side of the bus stop was unbearable.
“In fact waiting here is becoming impossible due to the odour from the faeces in the green area down there. After it rains and the sun’s heat spreads, sitting or just walking past here is unbearable due to the odour from the human waste in the green area,” the woman who gave her name as Mummy Success, said.
Some residents of the federal capital city have decried the lack of public toilets which would have helped in keeping the environment clean and healthy.
They said it was ironic that the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) would chase hawkers all around the city in the name of keeping it clean but has not thought about providing public conveniences.
A petty trader known only as Mrs. Blessing said the residents go to the bush to defecate openly as there were no public toilets around the bus stops.
“I, like every other person here, use the green area as toilet, because of lack of public toilet facility in the vicinity.
“The FCT Administration should provide toilets, even if it requires us paying before using them. That will go a long way in making the environment clean and healthy for the nation’s capital,” she said.
Berger Roundabout is a major terminal in the city where commuters alight and proceed to other districts in the Federal Capital Territory. As a result, it is always swarming with people coming into the city or exiting it.
Mummy Success lamented the negative consequences of the situation on their petty trading, saying they often suffered low patronage because customers could not bear to stay long at the bus stop due to the stench from the faeces.
Our reporters observed that a similar situation obtains opposite Jabi Park, on the Obafemi Awolowo Way. The bush patch of land in front of Rock of Ages Mall has become a public convenience.
Residents who alight from taxis at Jabi Park bus stop would always cover their noses, hold their breath and spit on the ground as they hurriedly passed by. The walkway has been littered with faeces and walking there has become impossible.
“It is unfortunate that Jabi will look this dirty. This is a major bus stop in the city and nobody is bothered that people defecate just by the sidewalk,” Jimoh Adam said, as he spat in disgust on the ground.
He advised the FCTA to focus more on waste management than chasing petty traders about, in the name of ridding the city of nuisance.
“Seeing faeces here by the sidewalk is more of an eyesore to me than seeing a young chap hawking sachet water by the roadside. Besides, the stench that assails your nose when you walk past such places can choke or force one to through up,” he said.
The Director of Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) Malam Baba-Shehu Lawan, who spoke with one of our reporters said the FCT Administration was very concerned about the issue of lack of public toilets in the city.
He said a committee was set up to look at the possibility of providing adequate toilet facilities for public use.
“The committee has already submitted its report to the chairman after which it will be submitted to the minister. The committee comprises several departments like FCDA department of engineering, urban and regional planning; development control and AEPB. The facilities have to be properly sited because Abuja is a planned city and if the facilities are not located at the appropriate places, other developments will affect them,” he said.
Lawan explained that the issue had already been taken into consideration and that in the meantime, movable toilets would be provided in strategic locations to serve the public.
“The administration is going for stationary toilets but in the interim, one way of reducing open defecation is to put in place the movable toilets which can also create jobs for youths.
“We are looking at about 50 movable toilets per district that will be put in place so that nobody will have reason to defecate in the open. The spacing will be about a hundred metres apart,” he added.
Asked when the movable toilets will be ready for public use, he said “In the next few months the toilets will be mounted in their strategic positions in different locations of the city.”