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Environmental workers threaten to strike, shut down cemeteries

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Environmental workers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Thursday threatened to shut down all public cemeteries in Abuja.

The workers closed the Gudu cemetery, Abuja over the failure of the FCT Administration to implement a new salary structure for them.

Muktar Bala, Chairman of Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) in AEPB, in a statement, said although the union has agreed to reopen some cemeteries, it would shut down all their services if their demands are not met.

Bala lamented the attitude of the Buhari administration towards the welfare of the workers despite exposure to several health hazards while handling abandoned corpses.

“People think it’s only waste management that we do. They don’t know that even unclaimed corpses in hospitals are taken care of by us.

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“We take care of dead bodies that have overstayed in the hospital for three to four years, without knowing what killed them.

“Hospitals come to us when they want mass burial for such dead bodies. If there are unclaimed or unknown corpses either on the roads or elsewhere, Police will write reports and bring them to us for burial.

“All these hazards, they don’t look at it that we are doing anything. We want to tell the administration that apart from managing the Solid waste, we do other things.”

The workers, however, said due to calls from the school residency they agreed to reopen the cemetery but we’ll shut it down if their agreement is not met in due time.

“Based on the decision taken Wednesday night by the joint Unions of AEPB, we agreed to open the cemetery by 9am Thursday due to calls from the Presidency.”

He added that if the agreement is not met, they will not only shut down the cemeteries but all their systems and operations.