Hot­line: 08135535423 Plight of big build­ing ma­te­ri­als sup­pli­ers

Dei-Dei In­ter­na­tional Mar­ket, sit­ting on the north-western fringe of the Federal Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory is said to be one of the largest build­ing ma­te­ri­als mar­ket in West Africa. Yet, sec­tions of this mar­ket are eye­sore just as traders lament their pitiable co

Daily Trust - - PROPERTY - By Ben Atonko Cont’d on Page 38

Chuk­wue­meka Okafor, a tim­ber shed ma­chine op­er­a­tor at the Dei-Dei In­ter­na­tional Mar­ket, says: “The prob­lem we have here is short­age of elec­tric power. In a day, we use 20 to 25 litres of diesel which is about N3,600. We want govern­ment to as­sist us in the area of power sup­ply so we can make profit in what we do here.

“Then pol­lu­tion. It af­fects us. Burn­ing this dust pol­lutes the air. When breath­ing, we feel weak - not much strength to work. We ap­peal to govern­ment to show us far away where to take this dust. When we burn it here, ev­ery­body is af­fected - the whole mar­ket is af­fected. Es­pe­cially in the rainy sea­son, the smoke is every­where.”

Ap­par­ently, the most badly af­fected sec­tion of the mar­ket is the tim­ber side. Roads leading to this mar­ket are bad, yet it is here that ma­te­ri­als are sourced for the huge con­struc­tion works in what has be­come known as the mega city. Some­times, a lorry brings goods from over a thou­sand kilo­me­ters only to fall on its side while en­ter­ing the mar­ket. The rainy sea­son is a nightmare to the traders be­cause trail­ers bring­ing goods from Ibadan or Sapele into this place fall. The goods might get dam­aged. Many re­sort to self-help to fix the roads but it does not help them much as not long af­ter, the patched sec­tions col­lapse.

Then de­vel­op­ers or con­trac­tors that come to buy build­ing ma­te­ri­als might be funny. They get con­sign­ment with prom­ise to pay only to con­tinue mak­ing prom­ises upon prom­ises.

But ap­par­ently, what trou­bles the traders most is the pol­lu­tion in the tim­ber sec­tion of the mar­ket. When Daily Trust vis­ited last Wed­nes­day, smoke was bil­low­ing by the side of the mar­ket des­ig­nated saw dust dump site. Also close to this dump site is a big set­tle­ment that does not saw wood but in­hales thick smoke from saw dust. The com­mu­nity’s nu­mer­ous com­plaints have not helped it - the smoke keeps ris­ing.

Chief Peter Ezeadua who is chair­man of Dei-Dei In­ter­na­tional Tim­ber Traders As­so­ci­a­tion is vis­i­bly dis­turbed. He lamented that af­ter pay­ing taxes, they get in re­turn health haz­ards and lack of ameni­ties. Checks showed that an­nual rents are paid to Abuja Mar­kets Man­age­ment Limited (AMML). The Federal In­land Rev­enue Depart­ment also has its share from the traders just like Abuja Mu­nic­i­pal Area Coun­cil (AMAC).

Ezeadua said, “The worst of all is solid waste dis­posal. We’ve gone to sev­eral places in­clud­ing the en­vi­ron­men­tal san­i­ta­tion depart­ment of the FCT re­quest­ing for a dump­ing site - we gen­er­ate a lot of dust. We burn the dust some­where. The own­ers of the land com­plain. They should show us a site. The con­tam­i­na­tion is high. Some of us can’t see prop­erly any­more.

“In fact, what we saw four weeks ago sur­prised us. Some­body would go down there as if he is putting tim­ber on the ma­chine, then would col­lapse. The next thing is paral­y­sis. We had three cases in the last two weeks - two of them are dead. Sud­den deaths!

“There might be some harm­ful chem­i­cals com­ing from this smoke. If we have dump site to evac­u­ate our solid waste, if we have elec­tric­ity, it will re­duce the burn­ing of this diesel. We need good roads.”

The tim­ber sec­tion of the mar­ket alone boasts of 1,500 mem­bers - ca­sual mem­bers, food ven­dors not in­cluded. It is said that on aver­age, 2,000 per­sons work here. Just as work­ers are many, there are nu­mer­ous ma­chines pow­ered by gen­er­a­tors us­ing gas, not with pub­lic power sup­ply.

The chair­man said, “Through self­ef­forts, we put up poles re­quest­ing var­i­ous gov­ern­ments to give us a trans­former to run these heavy duty ma­chines. We’re em­ploy­ers of labour. But up till now, no­body has ever cared to give us a sin­gle trans­former. These ma­chines break­down any time and it’s time con­sum­ing to run such ma­chines with gen­er­a­tors.”

God­win Nwanesi, for­mer chair­man of Doors and Al­lied Prod­ucts Mar­keters As­so­ci­a­tion, Dei-Dei also com­plained about lack of ameni­ties in the mar­ket. He said, “There’re things we can do and can’t do. Wa­ter, elec­tric­ity, roads are in the hands of govern­ment. Our roads are very bad. Trucks fall with goods. Some­times, they get trapped.

“These roads need to­tal re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion not patch­ing. They should do good con­struc­tion works for the trucks to move freely.”

When con­tacted, the Pub­lic Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer of Abuja En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Board (AEPB), Mr Joe Ukairo said he was not aware of any pol­lu­tion in DeiDei Mar­ket be­cause it is man­aged by AMAC. The PRO of AMML, Mr In­no­cent Obiechena de­clined to speak on the mat­ter. Sim­i­larly, AMAC chair­man Mr Mika Jiba did not re­spond to en­quiries made by this re­porter.

Dei-Dei Mar­ket is di­vided into five sec­tions: the main mar­ket, tim­ber shed,

Chuk­wue­meka Okafor, a tim­ber shed ma­chine op­er­a­tor, says he is fac­ing health chal­lenge posed by saw­dust pol­lu­tion.

God­win Nwanesi, for­mer chair­man of Doors and Al­lied Prod­ucts Mar­keters As­so­ci­a­tion, is dis­turbed by lack of ameni­ties

Peter Ezeadua, chair­man of Dei-Dei In­ter­na­tional Tim­ber Traders As­so­ci­a­tion, says tim­ber sell­ers are dy­ing from pol­lu­tion

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