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Relief as Enugu Government evacuates over one year refuse dump

By Lawrence Njoku, Enugu
11 November 2021   |   4:11 am
Residents of Obeagu, Awkunanaw in Enugu South Local Council of Enugu State may now heave a sigh of relief as the state government has begun evacuation of a massive refuse dump in the area.

Clearing of the Obeagu refuse dump site in progress PHOTO: LAWREENCE NJOKU

Residents of Obeagu, Awkunanaw in Enugu South Local Council of Enugu State may now heave a sigh of relief as the state government has begun evacuation of a massive refuse dump in the area.
  
The refuse heap, which has been abandoned for over a year, was covering a large chunk of the road from Obeagu to other parts of Awkunanaw.
  
The clearing may not be unconnected with a trending video of the refuse dump by certain persons, who alerted on its health implications.
 

 
The trending video attracted a civil society group, Washrights Network, which after paying a visit to the area, drew government’s attention to it.
  
The Guardian investigations, however, showed that the state government might have abandoned the heap of refuse because of the poor sanitary behaviour of residents.
  
It was gathered that the refuse kept returning to the site each time it was evacuated, despite the blockage and flooding it was creating in the area.
   
The Guardian learnt that the Civil Society group, after its visit, mobilised its members as well as other community members, where they jointly attempted to clear the refuse on two occasions to no avail.
   
They contacted the member representing the area at the State House of Assembly, Sam Ngene,  who also happened to be the House Committee Chairman on Health, as well as officials of the Ministry of Environment.
  
It was on the strength of this that the State Waste Management Authority (ESWAMA) embarked on the evacuation of the site.
Coordinator of Washrights Network, Mrs. Amaka Nweke, yesterday, expressed satisfaction with government’s response to the call to clear the dump site.
    
She said: “When we saw this and investigated it, we raised  the alarm as we feared there could be an outbreak of cholera.  We appreciate the government’s response. Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi will always stand out for his promptness in matters concerning the masses.”
 
Also, the Councilor representing the ward, Mrs. Ijeoma Nnaji expressed joy that residents were free from the possible outbreak of diseases.
    
In the same vein, her colleague representing Achara Layout West, Ward 7, Sam Onovo, thanked the group for taking it upon themselves to free his people from the inconveniences of the refuse dump.
    
On his part, Chairman of Amagu/Okpuno Obeagu community,  Mr. Raph Ogbe, said: “If it was then, you could not slow down here for a moment. The foul smell was something else.  
  
“Our water was constantly polluted and we were constantly under the threat of water pollution. We thank everyone who helped us, from the governor to the civil society.”