Refuse collectors protest in Asaba

Evacuators at a refuse dump.

Refuse collectors in Asaba, Delta State capital, are angry. Their anger is because they are pushed out of business by the Oshimili South Local Government  Area, which is charged with the  evacuation of wastes in the state capital despite heaps of garbage on the streets .

Their grouse is that 27 of the Private Sector Participants (PSP), out of the initial 41, were forcefully and illegally disengaged by the council authorities without due process, while those presently engaged, after intense lobbying, have been overwhelmed by the task of keeping Asaba clean.

In an open letter to the governor, signed by the state President of Association of Waste Managers (ASWAMA), Maxwell Egbe and Secretary, Adeniyi Osawaru, the group alleged that the 41 PSPs trained by the World Bank were unilaterally collapsed to 17 by the council.

The letter, a copy of which was made available to InsideNigerDelta in Asaba stated that the development had rendered over 500 youths jobless, which they claimed was against the wealth creation dream of the Okowa-led administration.

According to the aggrieved waste managers, the decision to reduce the number from 41 to 17 was not only frustrating the employment vision of the government, but making the state capital dirty as the 17 PSPs lacked the capacity to do the job effectively.

“On the 10th of May, 2016, members of our association were invited them to Oshimili South Local Government secretariat for what they termed ‘Registration and Re-validation’, and that the said registration and re-validation was approved by His Excellency. Sir, we suspect that your approval could not have been sought for reason mentioned here.

“For this exercise, each of us was made to pay a non-refundable fee of N10,000 into an account. Instead of the registration and re-validation, the chairman of Oshimili South Local Government Area unilaterally collapsed 41 zones existing in Asaba capital territory and reduced it to 17 zones without recourse to us,” the letter read.

According to them, the task of evacuating waste in Asaba was a burden for the hitherto 41 companies, adding that the job would not be easier for the new 17 companies who lacked experience, personnel and equipment.

“How can a project which has been a burden for 41 PSPs suddenly become easy for 17 PSPs who have no experience, not trained and no equipment to handle the job. This is an invitation to serious epidemic in the state capital.

“It is important to let you know Sir, that the state steering committee comprising some commissioners p, permanent secretaries and directors agreed and advised that all zones operated by SEEFOR be allowed to remain in the six pilot cities of Uvwie, Udu, Sapele, Ughelli, Warri South and Asaba.