Residents in several communities of Niger State have cried out for help, requesting that the government should, as a matter of urgency, clear up refuse dumps in the state to avoid outbreak of diseases.
The residents expressed displeasure on how the government kept mum over the indiscriminate dumping of refuse.
Some stated that they were concerned about water pollution, drainage blocking, flooding, land pollution, and infrastructural degradation.
Speaking to our correspondent, Ismaila Muhammad Yaro, in Suleja stated that people are dumping refuse on the road because there were no designated areas to dump them neither was the government agency saddled with the responsibility clearing them.
He added that the refuse not cleared by the appropriate authorities could lead to an outbreak of diseases that could affect the health of the people.
Chijioke Charles who also resides in Suleja said that the refuse has been left unattended to for months.
“Those who are suppose to pack this refuse haven’t been doing anything. We are suffering this. The smell alone is not good.
“They say that there is COVID 19, monkeypox and others and the refuse has been here for more than a month with nobody coming to pack it. Instead of the government to pay the people that are packing it, they are not doing anything.
“We are suffering from the smell and the flies that come from it. They left it because they are not living here or doing business here . we are begging the government to come and clear it for us,” Chijioke added.
In Minna, the state capital, the situation is not different as the major Kure Ultramodern market has also become an eyesore with refuse being dumped without being cleared.
According to one of the traders, Mohammed Dangana, whose shop is opposite one of the refuse dumps, the traders have complained to the authorities but nothing has been done.
“We are just looking. I have a POS stand close to the dustbin. We have complained but nothing is being done. We are tired of complaining. So now, we are just looking,” he said.
One of the customers at the Kure market, Juliana Jacob, said, “Imagine a market like a dumpsite. In fact, the market has become a dumpsite. This is supposed to be one of the parking spaces. One wonders what all the revenue being collected as toll fees from vehicles is being used for.
“If you want to come inside the market, you either pay N100 or N50 depending on where you want to pack, not to talk about the money collected from the traders especially those who hawk their wares.
“Hundreds of cars visit the market daily and yet, the local government authority cannot use part of the funds to take care of this part of the market.”
The General Manager of the Niger state Environmental Protection Agency, Habib Abdulkadir blamed the inability of the agency to clear refuse in the state on funding and refusal of residents to pay for waste disposal.
“The government has been doing this for ages and it has gotten to a point that the government has arrived at a point of lack of finances in the area of funding of waste management in the state.
“The government tries its best but the population keeps increasing and the cities are also increasing. There is need for us to improve on the equipment that we need to deploy to cover these areas that are coming up.
“It has come to a point that there is no other alternative than for the people to pay for their waste bills.” Habib said.
The officer in charge of waste management in NSEPA, Mohammed Isa Kutigi, said there was a challenge of lack of trucks to carry out the waste disposal.
He added that the agency has not been able to pay the contractors for about three months which led to the withdrawal of their services.
“The contractors cannot work because they are not paid. We have 11 trucks in Suleja. In Kontagora, we have six trucks.
“In Bida, we have three and there only five trucks in Minna. It can’t even take care of only Tunga side alone. We have a lot of challenges. The government needs to intervene to provide a lot of trucks so that we can address this.”