10 April 2018

Nigeria: Jos Metropolis Gobbled Up By Refuse, Residents Risk Cholera Outbreak

Jos — Jos, the Plateau State capital, resumed work last week after Easter only to be greeted with heaps of foul-smelling refuse all over the major streets.

There was no refuse disposal vehicle to pack the rubbish, as was the case before the Easter break. Residents around the refuse, which have become an eyesore, are complaining of bad odour, saying if nothing is done urgently, they risk the outbreak of cholera.

A resident who spoke to The Guardian on the issue said: "We are at a risk of cholera outbreak. Unfortunately, there is no official of the Ministry of Environment to lay a complaint to. The officials have not resumed work or returned from the Easter holidays. We are now at the receiving end.

"As a result of the abysmal negligence on the part of the Plateau Environmental and Protection and Sanitation Agency (PEPSA), it has resulted in health hazards for the citizenry.

It does not only affect the residents but also travelers. They too share the risk. This is the commercial nerve centre of the state," he said.

It was also gathered that Jos South, another local council, was hard hit with the menace as the refuse is stinking of human faeces.

According to Pam, a resident of Jos South, "outsiders driving into the state will be welcomed by the refuse. This shows that the government is not serious about the health of its people. Ironically, health is one of the five-pillar policy thrusts of the present government.

Meanwhile, the local waste collection operatives in Lagos State, commonly known as Private Sector Participants (PSPs) have denied reaching a resolution with both the Lagos State government and Visionscape on the waste controversy in the state, contrary to widely circulated statements by the government's waste management programme, Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI), and the waste collection company, Visionscape.

Chairman of the Association of Waste Managers of Nigeria (AWMN), the registered body of waste collectors, Oladipo Egbeyemi, accused the CLI and Visionscape of propagating falsehood and fabricating a quote attributed to him.

He was said to have made the following remarks: "We are grateful to the state government for its unrelenting support and dedication in the face of the challenges faced by the PSP operators.

We reassure Lagos residents of an uplift in the city's waste management system with the official resumption of door-to-door residential waste collection by the PSPs."

Egbeyemi described the said resolution as hoax. He also accused Visionscape of making up the comments attributed to him. "It is a complete fabrication."

Problem in the state's waste management sector started when the government sacked the PSP operators from collecting residential waste and replaced them with Visionscape, which struggled with the waste collection task, causing refuse to pile up on streets and major roads in the city.

Aggrieved at how they were kicked out of the residential waste collection business, the PSP operators sued the state government and Visionscape. The case is still in court.

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