Or under lock and key
Visitors to the ministries area in the nation’s capital, Accra, should pray never to have running stomach or hard pressed to urinate, as virtually all the government ministries are either without public washrooms or under lock and key, The aL-hAJJ’s investigations have revealed.
Most of the ministries with washroom facilities are either without running water, and therefore restricted to outsiders or are constantly under lock and key.
Also, to prevent what some authorities described as “messy scenes”, many of the washroom facilities in the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and some Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies throughout the country are barricaded to visitors who thronged those places to transact one business or the other, The aL-hAJJ has gathered.
Months of painstaking investigations have uncovered that not only are most of these washrooms at the various government agencies locked with keys, visitors who dare asked for its usage are most often denied access on flimsy excuses that the person keeping the keys was not available.
The situation is so nauseating such that until a visitor knows someone or the supposed person keeping the keys to the washrooms, an obvious alternate means for one to discharge his bowels or urinate is anybody’s guess.
“Most visitors who would want to attend to nature’s call but cannot get the keys to the toilet would have to restrain themselves until they get to a convenient place or explore ‘other’ alternatives”, a staff at one of the ministries in Accra disclosed.
Most worrying of the unthinkable phenomenon was the fact that, though the toilets at ministries are under lock and key, the sanitary conditions are in appalling state; with no immediate remedial measures on sight.
While most of these state offices may have imposing edifices and attention-catching frontage, their sanitary facilities are in terrible state.
While top management personnel at the various MDAs have their toilets and washrooms at the offices well-kept of which they will only share with their fellow “big men”, the ones meant for other workers and visitors are in a very sordid state.
In an encounter with a worker at one of the Ministries who spoke to The aL-hAJJ on condition of anonymity, he said “many visitors have been complaining of why a public agency like the ministries should have its washrooms locked, but the fact is that at first when it was opened to the public, people come here and mess up the whole place.”
Admitting locking of the toilets has not solved the unsanitary situation at the various washrooms at the ministries, he stated “I don’t feel comfortable using the toilets seats. Sometimes, the toilets are messed up with human waste for days without being washed. You would be surprised that though it is not opened to the public, we are still facing this problem. Sometimes, the stench is terrible. So we have to hold our breath whiles working.”
“The janitors who are expected to help clean up the toilets hardly do their work. They just rush to pour water in the sink, and leave. They don’t wash them properly. We have complained to the management about the situation, and the only thing they did was to prevent visitors from using it.” At a recent visit to one of the ministries, one Danso who had come to see a friend narrated his ordeal, “I came to see my friend for a discussion and when I got here I walked to one of the doors of the washrooms to urinate only to find out that it has been locked…I asked one of the workers here and he directed me to the PR’s office, I went there only to be told that the man keeping the key had gone out.”
According to him if the authorities do not act “a time will come that someone will make a mess of himself. This is a public building; therefore the populace must not be prevented from using some of the facilities, especially the toilets.”
He said if the problem is that visitors have been messing up the place, the cleaners must be tasked to constantly clean the place to avoid the situation authorities are complaining of.
Meanwhile, a building contractor who spoke to this paper explained that per building regulations, it is mandatory that in the case of public buildings the number of sanitary facilities must commensurate with the number of rooms.
He said the issue at the ministry is not about adequate sanitary facilities but the inability of the janitors to keep the place clean to avoid the breakup of epidemic.