Tuesday, January 19, 2016 9:04 am
Ibadan, once notorious for heaps of refuse shook off the image for several years under the governorship of Abiola Ajimobi. Just like old habits dying hard, the city regarded as Nigeria’s dirtiest is back to its old ways, with piles and mountains of refuse now springing up everywhere. Ajimobi is still in office for the second term. What went wrong?
When Ajimobi resumed became the governor in 2011, he vowed to make the city one of the neatest in the country. This he achieved within a year through his urban renewal schemes to the extent that some of the dumping grounds were turned into beautiful gardens. Also, he provided numerous waste bins in strategic places in the city including markets where the largest refuse is usually generated. He ensured that men of the Waste Management Authority worked round the clock to clear this refuse generated. This changed the status of the city to one of the neatest cities in the country.
The situation however changed almost a year to the end of his first term when his government decided to stop daily removal of the heaps of refuse from public places.
Having warned the populace to desist from dumping refuse at the spots the waste bins were provided, government removed all the waste bins and asked the residents to patronize the accredited private refuse operators who raised their service charge per drum from N100 to N1500. Some residents protested against the hike and it was reduced back to N100, though, the operators are making frantic efforts to increase the fee, which they are yet to succeed with.
This move did not help the environmental situation of the city as people continued to dump their refuse at the old places where the bins were located. The result: heaps of refuse return to the city. The pile up is even worse than the pre-Ajimobi years as it grows at geometric rate.
For now, the situation has not improved. During the last Yuletide, Ibadan residents celebrated with filth with refuse fencing up the city just as it protects it from external aggression.
An embarrassed Governor Ajimobi has expressed displeasure over the filthiness of the city and the inability of relevant agencies to evacuate the refuse dumped in the public places. He has warned Heads of Local Government Administration (HLAs) and environmental health officers in the 11 local government Areas in Ibadan over the mounting refuse in parts of the state capital. He also declared his administration’s readiness to ensure strict enforcement of the state environmental law in order to keep Ibadan and the entire state clean.
“This is embarrassing. This government is known for its credentials in environmental cleanliness and urban renewal. We won’t allow anybody to dent such credentials. Everybody must work now. We are prepared to sanction people for inefficiency and services not required. The whole place is dirty. It’s a disgrace. From now on we will clean Oyo State again. We are educating and enlightening our people now. We are informing them on what to do, soliciting their support. We are going to engage more youths to enforce sanitation laws. We will fortify the environmental officers and bring in more people.”
Also, during a chat with the press, General Manager, Oyo State Waste Management Board, Engineer Joseph Alabi said that those that commit environmental crime, especially dumping of refuse in public places in Ibadan, capital of Oyo State, risk being committed to three years imprisonment or paying a fine of N50,000.
Alabi said that henceforth, the government would no longer tolerate anyone attempting to drag the state back to when Ibadan was rated to be the dirtiest city in Africa adding that anyone caught messing up public places would be jailed or made to pay as much as N50,000 as fine.
Urging the residents to join hands with the government to make Ibadan clean, he said that the state has partnered with private refuse collectors to assist people to clear their refuse at affordable prices.
“We have registered private refuse collectors. If you don’t have anyone clearing your refuse for you, look for the one accredited to do so for your area or come to our office, we will assign a collector for you. If any refuse collector is not carrying out its obligation, based on agreement, report to us, we will award appropriate sanction. Please, let us join hands with the government to make our state a better one,” Alabi said.