From: TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt Hundreds of youths in Rivers State yesterday, staged a peaceful protest in Port Harcourt, condemning the activities of some operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the state police command. Protesting on the platform of Niger Delta Non-Violence Youth Leaders Assembly (NDNYLA), they marched through some major streets in…
By Fred Ezeh
Residents of Karu town in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) of Abuja are currently living in fear of imminent outbreak of epidemics.
The fear is as a result of a mountain of refuse between St. Mary’s Catholic Church and the Karu village central Mosque. The refuse heap, which has received little or no attention from the FCT Administration or AMAC, has become a threat to the people in the locale.
The refuse heap has continued to grow by the day, unattended to. Some residents argue that it has contaminated the nearby stream from which some residents get their water. What is certain is that the heap of refuse oozes an offensive odour that makes life uncomfortable for the people.
Daily Sun can authoritatively report that the situation has worsened in this rainy season. Each time it rains, the Nyanya-Karshi road, the only access road from Karu that leads to Karshi through Nyanya, becomes impassable due to flood, which would occupy the road due to the blockage of drainage channels.
When our correspondent visited the location, half of the two-lane road that leads to Jikwoyi all the way to Karshi was been overrun by the refuse, obstructing traffic, particularly in the evening when thousands of commuters would be returning home from work.
Moreover, the activities of hundreds of scavengers have worsened the situation. They normally move from house to house collecting refuse from huseholds at a fee and dumping it at the site recklessly.
However, some insist that it is the responsibility of AMAC to regularly evacuate the refuse heaps, using either its facilities or contractors to do the job but no one in authority has risen up to the responsibility for yet to be ascertain reasons.
Meanwhile, a cross-section of some concerned residents told our correspondent that their lives are under threat because of the growing refuse heaps. They attributed the development to either disagreements or cash crunch as being responsible for the prolonged abandonment of the refuse.
The media aide to the AMAC chairman, Mr. Dayo Lawal, was quick to dismiss the allegation of non-payment of the contractors due to cash crunch but refused to give further detail.
On his part, AMAC chairman, Abdullahi Candido, confirmed to our correspondent that cash crunch was responsible for the inconsistency in the evacuation of refuse from the area.
He admitted that the heap of refuse was a threat to the lives of the people, but said that the council was working out new modalities to tackle the issue of refuse evacuation in the entire ouncil.
A Karu resident, Abdulkareem, expressed worry over the development. He noted that the prolonged abandonment of the refuse heaps was not the usual practise of AMAC.
He said: “Our lives are seriously under threat because of this mountain of refuse. We cannot inhale clean air because the entire air space has been contaminated.
“Under normal circumstances, the refuse heaps are evacuated on a daily basis but, these days, time runs into several weeks without anyone attending to them. Obviously, our lives is in danger. We consistently live in fear of epidemic outbreak. We don’t have access to fresh air because we can’t open our windows due to the offensive odour that has saturated the air.”