Heaps of waste has reportedly defaced major areas in Akure, the Ondo State capital as a result of the alleged debt the state government is owing the waste collectors.
It was said that the private companies handling waste disposal and management stopped operations pending payment of the money.
According to the Punch, it was observed that some areas in Akure, including Isikan, Oba Adesida, Oyemekun, Arakale and Old Garage were littered with refuse as residents dumped their waste indiscriminately on the roads.
It was also discovered that the refuse collectors withdrew their services three weeks ago.
A source in the state Ministry of Environment disclosed the debt owed by the state government to the Punch.
The source stated, “The government owes the refuse collection firms N130m. Some of them have not been paid since March 2020. Those that did the fumigation of secondary schools since August 2020 have also not been paid including many others.’’
Some residents of the state expressed worries over the ugly development, urging Governor Rotimi Akeredolu to act swifly on the matter to avert an outbreak of diseases in the state capital.
A trader, Mrs Rachael Ikechuchukwu, said, “I am tired of this problem. Every morning, I find refuse in front of my shop. I don’t know those responsible. We are calling on the government to find a solution to this problem. This is irritating.”
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Environment, Mr Funso Esan, said the matter would soon be resolved.
In Esan’s words, “By Monday (tomorrow), we will start clearing it. The company clearing it is short of funds because we have some outstanding (payments) which we are trying to clear. By Monday, we will be back to work.”