‘Poverty Is A Thing Of The Mind’ – Gombe Scrap Dealers
The report by the US-based Brookings Institution which revealed that Nigeria has overtaken India as country with the highest number of poor people in the world is giving many cause for worry.
Some concerned persons are the members of Gombe State Scraps Dealers Association otherwise known as Bola Jari.
The group has said the report could be true, but the term poverty and unemployment only exist to those who do not explore the potentials of their environment and those who depend on the government politicised poverty alleviation programs.
The chairman of the association, Abdullahi Isah, highlighted that the 87 million people living in extreme poverty as stated by the Brookings Institution’s report were victims of government’s failure to execute programmes and projects that were aimed at alleviating poverty.
Abdullahi Isah believes that with one functioning waste recycling plant in a place like north east and little support for groups or individuals to start up, poverty would disappear.
He said: “If you want to get the youths engaged and diversify your economy, as a government, you need to explore the potentials of your environment and see what is marketable around.
"I know about ten recycling factories in South west region of this country who depend on us in the north east for their raw materials."
“Even used pure water sachet are being exported for recycling, why can’t we do it here where the raw materials are sourced from?”
The Gombe Scrap Dealer Association says they have over ten thousand youths who are gainfully employed in their collection depot which is at the centre of Gombe Main Market.
It was gathered that for years, individuals irrespective of age toil all day to make ends meet there. The scraps are usually from worn out automobiles and refrigerators.
Some members interviewed at the depot said, the importance attached to any of the scraps by a recycling company would ultimately determine its price.
For instance, a tonne of a pure metal goes for 170,000 Naira and a trailer load goes for 3 million Naira and buyers of the scraps are companies from the East and Western parts of Nigeria.
One major challenge the scrap dealers say they deal with is huge tax they claim authorities in the eastern and western parts of the country collect from them while transporting their metals to designated companies.
Gombe State Scrap Dealers Association Bola Jari said they had made several attempts to draw the attention of government to the importance of establishing a recycling company that will generate wealth from waste in each states of the north east region but to no avail.
“But I think this report by Brookings Institution will serve as a wake-up call to the government and also show the urgent need of establishing such factories that will improve the living standard of its people and our region north east which have suffered in the hands of Boko Haram insurgents," he added.
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