AEPB decries non-payment of waste bills by FCT residents

The Abuja Environmental Protection Board, AEPB, says it is determined to ensure that Abuja residents pay their waste bills.

Osi Braimah, Director AEPB, said this on Wednesday after a court hearing on defaulters of waste bills in the FCT.

Mr Braimah frowned at the non-payment of waste bills by residents of the FCT.

“We are doing these trials to enforce payments for services rendered, and those in court are those defaulted in non-payment for these services rendered.’’

He reiterated that the charges made by AEPB were not levies, but payment for the services it had rendered.

“AEPB provides waste management services, sewage, and sewage maintenance services because we are responsible for maintaining all the treatment plants in the FCT, and this is done at an exorbitant cost.’’

According to him, AEPB usually gives out waste bills for 12 calendar months, though some residents complained that they find it difficult to pay the bills once.

“So when we give our bills for one year, you are allowed to pay quarterly or any way you find convenient because each time you pay you have records of your payment schedule.

“We are in the fourth quarter of the year; we are rounding off the year; so, we expected the people to have paid up their bills by now.

“There are also some residents who have not paid their waste management bills for years either for whatever reasons; we have records; they are the people we are taking to court; these are big defaulters.’’

Braimah said that the properties being prosecuted were banks, commercial outlets, residential buildings, among others.

The director said that it was a wake-up call to those who had not paid to begin to make arrangements to pay.

“We will begin to shut down our services for those who have not paid; seal up; and in some cases, disconnect our sewage services because these services cost a lot of money to maintain.

“We cannot continue to give free services; the services rendered are already subsidised because what we are charging are the rates of 2012 which are very old rates.

“ It is highly subsidised and so we expect residents to pay,” Braimah said.

Similarly, Jude Azi, the prosecutor for AEPB, said that the board was prosecuting defaulters who had yet to pay their solid and liquid waste bills in Abuja for 2023.

“We are bringing the defaulters to court to state how their accumulated bills will be paid; but if they continue to default, we will discontinue our services, and seal up the property until they pay.

“We are using Abuja Environmental Protection Board Act No. 10 of 1997.

“The particular section that they have contravened is Sec. 30 (4) of the Act punishable by Sub Sec. (5) of that Act.

“We are also using the Abuja Environmental Protection Board Act, solid and liquid waste services rates charges regulation 2012, this regulation sets out the amount each tenant is expected to pay.’’

He decried the attitude of people not wanting to pay their bills, especially for the services rendered to them.

“The city is clean; we are doing our work very well but residents are not paying their bills; we don’t like chasing people to pay their bills; we are going to recover these payments for services rendered.

“We are conducting this exercise to advise residents to come forward and pay their waste bills as accrued to them.

“We are doing the prosecution for three days; it started on Tuesday and runs through Thursday; it is called a mass trial; we are looking at 1,600 for Magistrate Court Zone 2.’’

He added that there were six courts that would be sitting in the first instance, and it would sit for three weeks to make people pay their bills.

“The money is small and it is paid through remittal and can also be paid in installment; AEPB is lenient to its clients by allowing installment payments,” Mr Azi said.