Meet Physically Challenged Who Keeps Abuja Pedestrian Bridges Clean

by Leadership Newspaper
(01/9/15)

It’s no news that traders and beggars (both able bodied and physically challenged) have taken over pedestrian crossings or over-head bridges located within the heart of Abuja.


Despite intensified effort by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), through the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), to abate this nuisance, an army of aged men, women and young men, who formed the majority of the traders and beggars, lay siege on major pedestrian crossings and walkways as well as other busy spots within and the FCT.

Naturally, activities of these traders and beggars generate waste, which is largely ignored by these traders and beggars; but unlike his counterparts, a physically challenged man, Sanusi Murtala, has taken it upon himself to clean up after the traders and beggars. Murtala, who lost his limbs to polio, operates on pedestrian bridges around Nicon junction and Banex. He takes his time to sweep the bridge and about 52 steps of the bridge.

Speaking exclusively to FCT Watch at Nicon junction, Murtala said he transports himself from Zuba, Gwagwalada area council to the Federal Capital City (FCC) every day to sweep the bridges.

He said: “I join the big ‘el-Rufai’ bus to town every day; they are the only buses that agree to give me a ride to town; and on getting to town I ask the conductor to help me alight at any of the pedestrian bridges I wish to sweep for the day.”

Murtala, who hails from Sokoto State, said he left his state for the city to look for greener pastures about three months ago.

According to him, “My friends said Abuja is the home of big men and a very good place to make good money from begging for alms. But when I got here I decided to be useful in my own little way by sweeping the bridges, and people appreciate my hard work by giving me money when they’re passing.”

Asked on what motivated him to opt for sweeping bridges despite his condition, he said he came to beg there with his friends a couple of times, on arrival to the city, and observed that the place was always dirty, saying he decided to take it upon himself to sweep as many pedestrian bridges as he can each day around the axis.

“I pass through here every day and observed it is always dirty. So, I decided to do something about it, so I decided to buy a broom when I was leaving Zuba for town one day; that was how I started. It is not an easy job because climbing the steps in my condition takes time,” he stated.

He added that people normally give him money whenever he is sweeping, saying it was better for him to work than asking for alms.

“I feel good whenever I do this; when people give me money, I accept. It makes me feel good that I am doing something for the society in return, even though it is too small,” he added.

Speaking to FCT Watch, pedestrians commended Murtala for taking the initiative to donate his services for the betterment of the society rather than begging for alms, saying it is an act worthy of emulation.

A pedestrian, Yusuf Dadi, said: “I see him whenever I use the pedestrian bridges. I have seen him at Banex bridge and now I have seen him again at Nicon junction, to tell you the truth, I am always in a hurry whenever I am passing here and can’t really process what he is doing but I took time to observe what he was doing today and was moved. He is doing a good job and I pray that God will bless him.”

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