Akwa Ibom refuse disposal operators may down tools

Posted by Effiong Udousoroh, Uyo | 29 September 2015 | 2,489 times

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Refuse disposal operators, including tipper operators in  Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, engaged by the state Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, to evacuate refuse and wastes generated during the reintroduced monthly sanitation exercise in the state, have threatened to shut down their services, because of what they described as “neglect, meager stipends and non provision of working tools.”

Some of the refuse disposal workers, who spoke to newsmen on condition of anonymity, at the start-off venue for September sanitation exercise on Saturday, complained that since their engagement, they had been neglected by the appropriate authorities’ in-charge of both the clean-up and the evacuation tasks.

“Since our engagement by the Ministry, we have not been provided with working materials, which should include feeding allowance, transport allowance, reflective jackets and other tools for evacuation, to make our work easier and faster,” they stated, as most of them were however, putting finishing touches to move to their different locations.

“Medical facilities, like mobile clinic, which could be promptly contacted in case of any emergency, should be provided, at least to give first aid treatment. You know, this our work of debris evacuation is also very risky.”

The tipper operators for the disposal of the wastes generated, pointed out that “It is the same N20, 000 monthly stipends paid to the daily road/street sweepers, that we also collect,” asking, “What is N20, 000 stipend to us with families and other dependants, coupled with fueling of the tippers?

“We wish to use this medium to appeal to the Honourable Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Dr. Iniobong Essien, to kindly look into our plights and review our monthly stipends to, at least, from N50,000 upward, considering the reality on ground,” they pleaded.

News Express reports that during the period, more than 40 people were arrested and subsequently charged to the State Environmental Sanitation Court in Uyo, for “stubbornly moving around and not participating in the 3 hour sanitation exercise.”

In her trial of the defaulters, who all pleaded guilty of the offence, Magistrate Winifred Umoh-Andy of the Sanitation Court, convicted them individually as charged, and ordered them to pay fines ranging from N2,000, to N5,000, or imprisonments, ranging from 2 months, to 5 months, depending on the seriousness of the charge, and behavior of each offender.

Earlier, the Environment Commissioner, Dr. Essien, while monitoring the compliance, with his team in Uyo, stumbled on a filthy Chinese residence on Uruan Street in Ewet Housing Estate, producers of aluminum and metal doors and windows, whose Chinese Manager of operations, claimed ignorance of the monthly sanitation exercise and not understanding English Language, directed that the Manager be whisked away to face the Environmental Sanitation Court.

The commissioner, who frowned furiously at those who flouted the laws of the land, warned that “ignorance of the law is not an excuse to flout the laws of any country.”

Dr. Essien, who described the clean up exercise as “very encouraging, compared to that of August,” however ordered the Chinese Manager at the Court premises, to be let off the hook, after writing a letter of understanding, and promising that he and his other Chinese nationals there, would henceforth take active parts in subsequent sanitation exercises.

•Photo shows Gov Emmanuel

Source: News Express

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