Environmentalists raise alarm over possible disease outbreak in Aba

The Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy & Development (FENRAD), an environmental and Human rights group has called on the Abia State Government to quickly prevent a possible outbreak of a disease in Aba, the commercial hub of the state.

FENRAD said the call became necessary following the complete takeover of major roads and streets by a mountain of refuse that the Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA) has somehow abandoned to make life a living hell for residents and visitors in the city.

Comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor, the Executive Director, FENRAD said that it is heartbreaking and calls for concern that even the major well-planned areas in Aba like Eziukwu, Asa Road, Jubilee Road, Hospital Road, and even St Michael’s Road are gradually becoming homes for street rodents and all kinds of vectors, as mountains of refuse to keep increasing with nobody to attend to it.

Nwafor said that FENRAD is aware that the current administration barely has just a month to vacate office, but it is not enough to show less concern for the plight of the people of Aba.

“We want to remind those in charge of the Ministry of Environment and ASEPA that there are still human beings in Aba who need a good Environment not just good for revenue collection.

“The situation portends a serious health hazard, as the air is polluted with the stench from the gutters and reticles filled with refuse.”

He said that in the course of FENRAD’s on-the-spot assessment of Aba’s environment, it discovered other heavy refuse dumps at Ngwa Road, Ogbor Hill, and Port-Harcourt Road and where heaps of sachet water packets have blocked the drainage channels.

“We equally discovered that major roads in Aba like Osusu, Omuma, Port Harcourt Road, Obohia, Ohanku, Eziukwu, Cemetery, Ogonnaya, Danfodio, Etche, East, Umule and so many others do not have a single refuse collection receptacle.

“This leaves us to ask whether ASEPA want the residents of these areas to consume their waste as food. It is disheartening to see ASEPA using a major street of Aba Like Azikiwe Road by Asa as a refuse collection point which creates gridlock in this area.

“They can easily create a better strategy for refuse collection which could help keep that very important spot very clean for residents and visitors.”

Nwafor said that despite FENRAD’S open and obvious dislike for the poor performances of ASEPA in refuse disposal and collection in Aba, a huge part of the blame must go to the Abia State Government.

“We must state it clearly that Abia State Government is responsible for the refuse problem in Aba through terrible appointments in ASEPA leadership, poor funding, and non-provision of adequate equipment.

“It’s disheartening that the State government finds it very difficult to relinquish the authority of refuse collection and disposal to local government authorities who can easily handle the situation with the state government’s supervision,” he said.

FENRAD however called on the incoming Government of Dr Alex Otti, the Abia Governor-Elect to learn from the failure of the outgoing government and change environmental sanitation policies and strategies in the state.

“Having seen the obvious failure of this administration and previous ones in handling refuse collection and disposal in Aba, we, therefore, charge the incoming Government to ensure that the much talked about “Ministry of Aba” will have a separate Environmental Agency capable of mapping out a better strategy for refuse collection and disposal.

“The government has not taken the issue of refuse collection and disposal very seriously in Aba because if they have, they should know that with mega markets like Ariaria, Ahia-Ohuru, Cemetery, Eke-Oha, Asa-Nnetu, Uratta-Integrated;

“and other minor markets like Ehere, Highlife, Amaogbonna, Aforule, Ahia-Nkwor, Nkwor-Ngwa, Kent, Achuaru, Good Morning, Salad, Allen, School Road, and Railway Halt all having people trooping in and out, serious mobile collection and disposal is needed.”

Nwafor said that if this current method of collection and disposal of refuse is maintained by the incoming Government then FENRAD will be highly disappointed because the current method is endangering the lives of everybody in Aba.


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