*Heaps of refuse deposited at the road median along Emir Road in Ilorin on Monday, Dec 2, 2019.
By Usman Aliyu
Residents of Ilorin, on Monday, expressed fear over possible outbreak of epidemics, as refuse has taken over major streets within the metropolis.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in spite of the observance of the monthly sanitation exercise, heaps of refuse still occupy major roads in the state capital.
A NAN correspondent, who moved around the city, observed that the ‘roro bins’ usually placed at some designated areas, have long been removed, thus forcing residents to dump wastes by the roadside and walkways.
Some areas most affected by the heaps of refuse are Oniyangi along Emir road, Tanke Ilesanmi, on the University of Ilorin road, Airport area, Ipata market and Gambari, among others.
Some residents, who spoke with NAN, decried the situation, attributing it to the failure by waste contractors to evacuate the garbage.
According to them, it portends grave danger for the health and wellbeing of the people, adding that failure to evacuate the refuse can provoke an outbreak of diseases.
Mallam Idris Ibrahim, a resident of Oniyangi, told NAN that people were not provided with alternative locations to dump their refuse since the bins had been removed.
He said that the Kwara Waste Management Company, which used to collect waste around the city, had also stopped performing the duty.
Mr Awal Mohammed, a resident of Oja Igboro, condemned the failure by government to evacuate the refuse by the roadside, saying that this could cause epidemic.
He urged the state government to urgently initiate measures to address the ugly development.
According to him, no state can afford to face the consequences of epidemics, particularly at a time when citizens were facing harsh economic conditions.
Mrs Sidikat Ishola, a trader, also warned of the consequences of abandoning refuse on the streets, saying that the situation had destroyed the reputation of Ilorin as one of the cleanest cities in the country.
“Government should know that cleanliness is next to Godliness,’’ she added.
In his reaction, Alhaji Haliru Said, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, said that the ministry was aware of the situation and would soon address it.
He blamed it on the inaction of the social contractors engaged for evacuation of refuse in the metropolis.
Said, who spoke with NAN from a meeting he was holding with the contractors, said that the ministry had given them a three-day ultimatum to ensure the waste were packed.
The permanent secretary noted that whoever failed to live up to the ultimatum would have its contract cancelled.
He said that the contractors had particularly been mandated to work in sensitive areas like Airport road, market places, University of Ilorin road and Emir road, among others.
Said added that the ministry would move out after the expiration of the ultimatum and sanction any contractors that failed to adequately cover its area.