Bayelsa News

“Dead babies with missing body parts are discovered daily” — Bayelsa waste management contractor

The Managing Director of Brikari Nigeria Limited, waste management contractor of Bayelsa State Government, Bright Ayebakari, has disclosed that no week passes without officials discovering corpses of little children, severed body parts, arms and ammunition in refuse receptacles in the state.

Ayebakari, who spoke to NDV in Yenagoa, on refuse disposal and challenges in the state, said: “In our job, we are not supposed to pick corpses, but we see corpses, we see body parts, we see arms and ammunition at times, these are supposed to be classified. Most times, we see corpses, there is no week that we do not pick corpses of little children.

“Sometimes, the medical facilities amputate body parts, the recent one we evacuated was someone’s leg, an adult, somewhere near the New Commissioners’ Quarters in the state capital.

“I think it emanated from a medical facility located around the area and each time we see things like that, we call the attention of the Commissioner for Environment or the Permanent Secretary and the Police, and if it is a corpse, those agencies will do the needful and bury the corpse.

“Occasionally, we pick arms and ammunition and in such cases, we call the police. Recently, we picked two locally made guns and cartridges and we called the attention of the Special Adviser on Security to the Governor. That is to tell you that our workers don’t want anything to do with crime,” he said.

Human waste enclosed in bags

Ayebakari added: “Another thing that results to issues is that we do not have toilets here in some houses, especially the indigenous communities, they do not have toilets. They package their human waste in a polythene bag and take it to the refuse receptacles. These are the major issues we are facing. In this part of the world, we do not sort refuse, everything is packed in one place.

“We have medical wastes, organic wastes, metal wastes, plastic wastes and so on and they are not supposed to be bundled up together, but here, it’s complete confusion because everything is bundled together and we are used to it.

Bag of US dollars

“We are not used to attacks, sometimes some public spirited persons give our boys money. There was a day we even picked US dollars in a bag, but something funny happened. We picked this bag of dollars from the refuse receptacles, loaded it and threw it away at the dumpsite, the driver is not used to dollars, so he said that they were fake dollars.

“Then those who picked it called the local bureau de change operators and when they came, they discovered that they were real currency, and before you knew it, some of them got N5 million, N3 million and so on. So apart from bad things, we equally see good things too,” he asserted.

We notice native doctors’ concoction

On spirituality, the managing director told NDV: “So we see the good, the bad and the ugly. Sometimes we pick native doctors’ concoction too. If not for God Almighty, we can have some spiritual problems or issues too. That is the kind of environment we operate in.

“Therefore, we have a complete church in our yard. If you are a Muslim, we give you yours and you manage your beliefs. We have four resident pastors, every morning after preaching and prayers, the safety officer still reminds them of what is expected of every staff.”

Cancer-causing operation

“Our total workforce is now 728 staff. The job is an essential job, we work every day, we do not have public holidays, especially we, in the administrative department, because we supervise the operations. I, as the managing director, I work every day, no leave.

“In our kind of job, there is the tendency to have epidemic. So among these 728 staff, we have a medical team, we have a technical workshop called TechShop where we have all kinds of mechanics. We also have welders because we do welding and fabrication. We have fuel attendants, we are self-propelled and we have a complete fuel dump in our yard.

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“We are in the front-line, like the Covid-19, they will say when you sneeze, use a tissue and dispose it in a refuse bin. They will bring all those things to the receptacles and we will pick them. We know the effects of the kind of job we do, we do not see this job as a contract. I see this job as a call to duty and my contribution to society.

“So we do not see it as a contract, we see it as a service to the people and our contribution to society. I tell my workers, we all work together, the money comes in a pool, and we share and call it salary. We have a complete clinic, laboratory and pharmacy.

“We also have the fumigation department because before you touch anything, we fumigate; after evacuations, we fumigate again so that nothing will incubate there. In the South-South region, I do not know any state capital that is free from refuse as Yenagoa. I travelled round the country.

Not business as usual

“I used to have some friends that will come and tell me that this is not the way to do this job. You do not have to use all the money for the job, this is not how the refuse job is done. In some places, there will be refuse and I ask some of them what they mean by that. Another one that is retired now, but used to be a civil servant in the Ministry of Environment would come and tell me; ‘look, this job is not done like this, come and settle us because we are the ones that write the report.

“I told him to leave my office, I am from Bayelsa State, I do not betray, this job is a public trust, do not try to advise me to misbehave because if I advise you to go naked, you will not do it so do not come to advise me,” he said.

No toilet in many homes

The waste management boss asserted: “We can only advise because we do not have the power to enforce. Get your refuse packed, bring it to the designated fenced receptacle and drop it, avoid indiscriminate disposal of refuse. Those who are supposed to enforce the laws governing the tenants and landlords should let the landlords know that they owe the tenants the obligation to provide toilets.

“Many houses do not have toilets, especially the indigenous people, they must know that the state capital and its environs is a complete urban place. Defaulting landlords should be arrested and prosecuted,” the waste management boss noted.

2nd tenure guaranteed for Diri

Speaking on the performance of Govenor Douye Diri, he stated: “I am from Southern Ijaw Local Government Area and I am happy anytime that I hear that the road is progressing and is now somewhere at Angiama. I can drive a car very close to my community now, from Angiama to my village is closer and they are about constructing another bridge, which will make my village even closer, this is just in two years.

“So we are very happy. To me, if it is only Southern Ijaw Local Government Area that will give the governor a second term, it is as good as done because we are happy.

“The word, development, is not an African word and so here too, we are still developing. They call some societies developed world, but if you go there, they are still building. I am not a politician, I am a businessman but if you ask me, I will tell you that the development is in order because it runs concurrently, it progresses and you do not expect everything to work at once, even the economy of this country is not in order.

“Funds are very scarce and it is very difficult for the governor to talk, he is ready to work but the funds are not available, so you manage what you have. For example, the pensioners, if you look at the mind of the governor, he wants to offset all the gratuities but the funds are not there. I am aware that they are paying in batches.

“Even God Almighty created the world in seven days, He has all the powers to do it in one day, so development is a gradual thing. You can’t satisfy everybody. So where we are and the funds available, I will score the governor a pass mark, why, because we have heard of states where governors do not pay salaries and heaven has not fallen,” he said. (Vanguard)

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