By CrossRiverWatch admin
“The issue of waste management and disposal, quick win industries… will also be addressed”… Ben Ayade (June 1, 2015)
“I cannot understand why the city is full of dirt while the governor’s route is always cleared. This cannot continue… This eyesore has an offensive odour and apart from that, it can affect the growth of your children as well as their academic performance in school and I plead that you do not dump your waste in the drains but in the refuse dumps”… Ben Ayade (June 8, 2015)
The city of Calabar before the advent of the fourth republic was one of the dirtiest across the country with the current “clean and green” tag often attributed to the foresight and astute nature of ex Governor Donald Duke, to clean the city and make it the tourism haven of Nigeria with the creation of five urban development authorities as part of a scheme to keep the state clean and green.
This continued up to the peak days of the succeeding governor Liyel Imoke’s administration that created the waste management agency to shift from waste evacuation to proper management as a business.
But, the clean nature gradually began fading towards the eve of that administration as effective governance by his lieutenants gradually took backstage for intense politicking.
This continued until the Ben Ayade administration set in to meet a Calabar that was drowning in its filth with the governor even handling a shovel himself to aid in keeping the city clean to retain the gradually fading “cleanest and greenest city in Nigeria” crown which he succeeded initially but is that the reality as his administration clocks one year?
Barely two months later, the dirt was back in the streets with the governor this time giving the contractors an ultimatum to evacuate the refuse and upon passing the deadline with little or no action from the contractors, he terminated their contracts and directed the Secretary to the State Government, Barr Tina Agbor to enumerate the Adhoc staff and absorb them so they will be under the control of the state government.
This however yielded minimum results as the garbage always returned few hours or days after being cleared.
CrossRiverWatch posted a picture of the dilapidated nature of the collection bins and reported several times on the filth in Calabar.
The government has tried several means to assuage the feelings of the staff who have been owed for months, even resorting to pay the staff by hand at the governor’s office.
The evacuation improved only for incessant strikes, protests and demonstration by the staff over unpaid salaries to hamper the evacuation efforts over and over up until December 2015, when the staff barricaded the ever busy IBB Way by CUDA office with the Environment Commissioner, Mike Eraye working almost round the clock to ensure the city remained clean with out-of-date and dilapidated equipment.
Before the appointment of the 5 executive secretaries for the 5 urban development authorities, some political sycophants had flooded the social media space with individual efforts in ridding Ugep, Ikom, Ogoja and Obudu towns of waste and subsequently were appointed to head these urban development authorities.
The story changed as their patriotism stopped upon the announcement of their appointments.
Recently, a national daily had reported that there was fear of a cholera outbreak in the capital city of Calabar which the state government denied in a statement, yet, an iReporter video broadcasted by Channels TV as well as subsequent stories published by national dailies revealed Calabar to be drowning in its own filth in the months, weeks and days leading up to the 1 year anniversary of the current administration.
However, it will be recalled that CrossRiverWatch had reported that sources in the Environment Ministry had complained of the non availability of funds to run the Ministry to ensure prompt evacuation of refuse with the Commissioner in the past month spending more time at the site of the garment factory where staff of the Ministry carried out landscaping than his office.
Also, sources close to the governor, say he had given some money to one Willie Okokon to ensure that Calabar becomes clean in 3 months with the governor driving all the way to Nassarawa Bacoco to inspect a potential dumpsite suggested by the said Willie Okokon.
Also, on social media, the administration has not been spared with several residents of Calabar loudly calling on the government to stop giving excuses and getting down to clean Calabar and making it green again.
What do you think caused the current waste menace in Cross River State, How do you think it can be solved and do you think the Ayade’s administration will get it right eventually?
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