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Ogun Waste Managers Beg Governor to Pay N650m Debt

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Waste crisis looming in Ogun state

The Ogun State Chairman of the Association of Waste Managers of Nigeria, Pastor Jolaoluwa Emmanuel, has lamented the huge debt the state government owes the waste managers. He said the government has not paid them 18 months of bridging allowance for general refuse disposal, which amounts to over N450m. He also said the highway operators, who are in charge of managing public waste dumped across the highways in the state, have a backlog of four months running, which is over N200m.

Emmanuel disclosed this on Wednesday at a press briefing held at the secretariat of the association at Adigbe, Abeokuta. He said the non-payment of the debt has hampered their efficiency and forced over 100 operators and hundreds of workers out of business. He added that many waste managers are presently sick and struggling to pay back their banks for the facilities they have collected to enhance their performance.

He appealed to Governor Dapo Abiodun to intervene and save the waste managers from collapse. He said the waste managers have been instrumental in making Ogun state one of the cleanest in the country since Abiodun came to power in May 2019. He said the waste managers have been patient and cooperative with the government, but they can no longer bear the hardship.

Dumpsites in terrible condition

Emmanuel also lamented the state of the dumpsites across the state, saying that many of them are in terrible form, making it difficult to access them with their refuse disposal vehicles. He said the government should urgently repair the dumpsites before the rainy season begins, to avoid environmental hazards and health risks.

He said the association has written several letters to the government, but has only received promises that were never fulfilled. He said the association is not asking for a favour, but for their legitimate entitlements. He said the bridging payment is a result of the fact that not many people pay for the disposal of their refuse, and the government makes up for the shortfall.

Government promises to address the issue

When contacted, the Commissioner for Environment, Mr Ola Oresanya, said the government is aware of the plight of the waste managers and is working seriously to address the issue. He said the government appreciates the role of the waste managers in ensuring public hygiene and environmental sustainability in the state.

He attributed the delay in payment to the economic challenges caused by the global pandemic and the increase in fuel prices and vehicle spare parts. He said the government is trying to avoid transferring the burden to the public through the increase in waste collection charges. He assured the waste managers that they will have reasons to smile very soon and appealed to them to remain calm and steadfast.

Hope for a cleaner Ogun state

The waste management crisis in Ogun state is a serious threat to the health and well-being of the residents and the environment. The waste managers are the backbone of the sanitation system and deserve to be paid for their services.

The government should act swiftly and clear the debt to avoid a breakdown of law and order and a possible outbreak of diseases. The people of Ogun state deserve a clean and green state that they can be proud of.

Source: Punch

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