ABUJA – Environment workers from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have threatened to close all public cemeteries in Abuja.
The workers, who sealed off the Gudu cemetery in the nation’s capital, succumbed to pressure from the presidency and opened the facility on Thursday morning.
The angry workers attributed their action to the FCT administration’s failure to implement a new wage structure for them.
Comrade Muktar Bala, President of the Merged Union of Public Enterprises, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Service Employees (AUPCTRE) of the AEPB, said that although the union has agreed to reopen some cemeteries, it will close all of them if their demands are not met.
Bala, who was concerned about the administration’s attitude towards the welfare of union members, said they had been exposed to several health risks while handling abandoned corpses.
“As president of one of the unions of the AEPB, I can assure you that this is a collective decision of the whole union, with the support of the National Union. People think we only do waste management. They do not know that even unclaimed corpses in hospitals are taken care of by us.
“These corpses which remained more than 3 to 4 years in the hospital, we take care of them, without knowing what killed them.
“Hospitals come to us when they want mass burials for such corpses. If there are unclaimed or unknown bodies on the roads or elsewhere, the police will write reports and bring them to us for burial. All these vagaries, people don’t see that we’re doing anything. We want to tell the administration that apart from managing Solid Waste, we do other things.
“Based on the decision taken last night by the joint unions of the AEPB, we have agreed to open the cemetery before 9am on Thursday due to appeals from the presidency. However, if the agreement is not not met, we will shut down not just cemeteries, but all of our systems and operations.daily trust)