Onitsha Stinks, as Epidemic Looms
Barely one month of the evacuation of mountains of refuse from scores of refuse dump sites in the four local Government Areas of Ogbaru, Idemili North, Onitsha North and South, by Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State, mountains of refuse have reportedly returned to those local Government Areas causing severe road block and stench odour that may result in epidemic .
Virtually all dump sites have turned to mountains of refuse thereby causing also traffic grid-lock even as people climb and trek on top of refuse.
In his reaction, the board chairman, Association of Music, Film Producers And Marketers of Nigeria, AMUFPMAN, comrade Ubaoha Uzoma, stressed the need for all to observe the monthly sanitation exercise in the state.
“I will even assist in the de-silting of drainages. During the Governor Soludo’s directive for the clean-up exercise, I assisted and even supervised in some places but why this refuse returned is because most of the refuse were not evacuated after being removed from the drainages”
“As I talk to you now Limca road/Old road has been blocked by refuse forcing People to climb the mountain of refuse including the heavy traffic grid-lock it causes”
“Also opposite St. Anthony parish church along the Limca road and after Nkpor Junction along the Old road, refuse also took over the roads.
The refuse dump site along Awka road, opposite Ado Girls secondary school, was cleared some time but now it has blocked Okosi road.”
“I advise that Government should know the type of contractors handling this evacuation of a thing because they will collect money and abandon their work.”
” I heard some of the contractors are being owed and that is why the refuse have not been evacuated and residents continue to dump waste materials thereby increasing the refuse”
Contributing, the state chairman of Integrity Group, a pro – trader’s organisation, Chief Obinna Madu, urged the state government to meet with the Environmental Ministry with a view to solving the constant heap of refuse in Onitsha and its environs.
“It is the responsibility of the Ministry of Environment to evacuate refuse that has turned to mountains everywhere in Onitsha and environs.
At Premier Breweries along Onitsha/Asaba expressway, QRC along Oguta road, Ukwuoji/Umuikem road, along Okosi road, among other places are blocked by refuse thereby causing heavy traffic grid-locked”
He stressed the need also for the provision of waste management bins and immediate evacuation of the refuse when full even as he urged residents to also contribute by not throwing refuse inside drainages.
Recall that the Deputy Governor ., His Excellency, Onyekachukwu Ibezim, had while evacuating the refuse earlier, hinted that about 60 refuse dumps were tackled adding that the exercise would continue.
However, some people described the evacuation exercise of the state government as incompletely done as scores of the refuse dump sites were not touched.
According to one James Agaha, “nothing was done at Awada, Fegge and even some parts of Inland town Onitsha. We were hoping that they would come and evacuate the refuse in those areas but we did not see them and it is worse now”
” We heard Government has set up a committee or monitoring team but we are yet to see them in action, may be until we hear that some people have died as a result of epidemic then they will rush and remove the refuse that poses severe threat to lives of residents” he lamented.
Meanwhile, The Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, ONICCIMA, Wednesday attributed the dilapidated condition of roads in Anambra State, especially Onitsha, the commercial nerve centre of the state to the traffic grid-lock observed daily.
Expressing dissatisfaction with the poor state of the roads, the President of ONICCIMA, Chief Kevin U. Ebieri, said that” several roads in Onitsha, Nnewi, Awka, and other cities within Anambra are currently dilapidated and are major causes of the traffic grid-lock constantly experienced by commuters every day in the state”
He said that in Onitsha the rehabilitation of New market road , modebe Avenue, Iweka road and the dualization of Onitsha /Federal Housing – 33-Nsugbe road was of urgent importance.
“There is also the need for some palliative works to fill up the potholes at the Onitsha end of Niger Bridge.
With the rainy season in full gear, it has become imperative to apply temporary measures that would put these roads in motorable Condition pending when full repairs can be carried out on the affected roads”
The ONICCIMA boss reiterated that government needs to urgently look into providing alternative routes for vehicular movement around the major cities.
“Part of the reasons traffick grid-locked persists in cities like Onitsha is do to all manners of vehicles besieging one route like Awka road, to gain access to other locations around the city.
More access roads would provide alternatives for vehicles to get to their destinations earlier”“We also appeal to the state government to laise with the Federal Government with regard to conducting repairs on major Federal roads within Anambra” he pleaded.
On touts and illegal revenue collectors that have been sacked on the roads, parks and markets, the ONICCIMA boss while seeing it as a welcomed development urged that women without jobs especially those who have been disengaged from their illegal activities in collecting revenue could be integrated into this exercise and properly remunerated.
By Phil Okose Onitsha