LAGOS, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA) –The National Union of Scrap and Waste Pickers of Nigeria (NUSWON) has pleaded with the government to shield its members from attacks and harassment that makes them appear to be criminals.
The appeal was made by Friday Oku, president of NUSWON, during the two-day first National Educational Conference and the inauguration of northern leadership of NUSWON held in Abuja on 8 April.
According to Oku’s statement, the waste pickers have faced increased stigmatisation over the ban on their activities, especially in Lagos State.
Recently, the waste pickers in Lagos unveiled a website to register all waste pickers in the state as part of the drive to get on board the waste management value chain in the state.
Oku said it was high time the government recognized that some Nigerians were working at the lowest rung of the waste and recycling ladder, and without their contributions, it might be impossible for the recycling industry to operate optimally.
He stated that the union was constantly working to sanitize members and weed out anyone with criminal tendencies.
Oku while congratulating the newly elected northern leaders of the union from the North West, North East and North Central, urged them to work at promoting the interest of the union.
Alhaji Usman Bakawu from Adamawa State emerged as the interim Vice President of the union.
The NUSWON national officers later paid a courtesy visit on the President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero, who gave assurances of his support to register the union under the Trade Union Act.