Lokoja Cleaner, But That Could Change If…
• It’s Political Gimmick, Say Residents
HEAPS of refuse that once overtook sections of major roads in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, are vanishing. Thanks to government’s procurement of equipment for the state’s environmental agency.
Many of the collection points at Adankolo, Obasanjo Square, Old Market, Federal University Junction and Catholic Cathedral, which used to be filled with garbage, were clean last week. Compactor trucks were seen evacuating refuse regularly at designated points.
Before now, only one compactor truck was functional. Recently, however, new purchases were made. There are also communal waste bins mounted at strategic points in the city where refuse is collected and evacuated as soon as the bins are filled-up
The communal bin recently incorporated is another positive move that has helped the agency in prompt evacuation of waste. The roll-on-roll-off bins – huge receptacles where residents may deposit their wastes – are particularly convenient. At the moment, only three have been procured, although the agency says it is expecting about 45 more.
There are, however, issues that could make the current successes by the agency short lived. During a visit to its premises, the reporter stumbled on two skip loaders in ‘helpless condition’, as technicians struggled to put them in order. It was learnt that the equipment were purchased secondhand. And given the fact that they had been out of use for some time, there is fear they might develop fault from time to time, hampering the agency’s work.
The agency until recently was getting N500,000 monthly, which has since been reviewed upwards to N1,000,000. This is still far below what is needed to maintain equipment.
With election approaching, some residents attributed the sudden wake up by the agency to bashing the current government has been receiving from the opposition over filth in the city.
One Suleiman Negedu expressed satisfaction with the new order, saying at least, for the moment, residents would live without pungent smell from the roadside. He is only hoping that the change would not turn out to be a pre-election gimmick that would fizzle out when another tenure begins.
Another resident in Adankolo expressed happiness that at least the embarrassment of living in a filthy state capital was being taken care of. He urged whoever emerges as governor to keep up the tempo of keeping Kogi State clean. Salihu Ozigi, on his part, commended Governor Wada for tackling the menace. According to him, if the government is truly committed to developing tourism, then neatness is a vital first step.
The Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor, Mike Abu, said the situation improved because the government is committed to sanitation and the reason it appointed the Deputy Governor to head the sector. “Before this administration, waste bins were not there and the current government is the first in 21 years to build a dumpsite,” he said.