7 July 2011

Nigeria: Refuse Heaps Get Higher At Nasarawa/Abuja Border

Lafia — The Nasarawa/Abuja border has continued to be home to mounting refuse heaps, a development which has continually obstructed free vehicular movement along Abuja-Keffi road because residents and traders have turned the road into a dump site.

This development has gone from bad to worse in the last few months, although the new governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, on his first day in office had promised that his administration will prioritize good sanitary services at the Nasarawa/Abuja border otherwise called Greater Karu Area.

Al-Makura had given orders to the Nasarawa State Urban Development Board (NUDB) when he visited its Managing Director, Engr. Ja'afaru Ango, on his first day when he directed that the refuse be cleared between Keffi and Abuja.

The NUDB boss on his part complained that the problem of the agency is lack of funding of the board, as a result of which cleaners were hardly paid, waste disposal vans hardly procured or maintained among other obstacles drawing back the board in performing its task.

The governor promised to look into the issues raised to enable the board maintain environmental friendliness.

But one month after this promise was made, refuse has continued to build up at the Greater Karu Area, with the federal highway turned into a dump site because of lack of a government designated dump site, waste containers, and inadequate waste disposal vans.

The vans working there were donated by the World Bank which assisted in a six months' programme for waste management at the area by the administration of then governor Aliyu Akwe Doma but since then, no cleaning was carried out in the area.

Residents and traders that were interviewed complained that after the six months' programme, the Nasarawa/Abuja border was turned into a refuse site again, with the NUDB visiting only at occasionally while the heaps mounted and spread into homes and shops.

"The new governor came with promises, but you can see for yourself, Masaka, Karu and Masarawa is an eyesore.

Children are growing up here. We pay taxes, and government has never failed to come around to collect taxes", said Hassan Umaru, a shop owner at the Masaka market.

The NUDB boss, Engr. Ango confirmed the mounting refuse heaps at the area, but pleaded for time on behalf of the new governor.

"You know he has not settled down. By the time the new equipment we are expecting come, the issue of refuse heaps at Masaka, Karu and Mararaba will be a thing of the past. We will work on that area between today and Friday to clear up the refuse heaps", he said.

Last Saturday was sanitation exercise day in the state, but urban authorities concentrated on mounting roadblocks while refuse heaps remained unattended to.

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