Sango-Ota: The Dirtiest Industrial Town In The Country?
Sango is the commercial hub and nerve centre of Ogun State. Its popularity stems from its close proximity to Lagos State, the nation’s commercial capital. Of recent, the city has acquired the sobriquet of small Oshodi, as a result of the influx of traders suspectedly displaced from Oshodi market.
The town has become a new haven for traders, who now have unrestricted access to the roadsides and display their wares to prospective buyers. But while this development is driving traffic to Sango, it has left behind a blight, as refuse is about to submerge the once sparkling town.
The indiscriminate dumping of refuse started in the tale end of 2008 after the sudden stoppage of construction on the Sango-Ota overhead bridge by Julius Berger Plc, a project which became necessary to ease traffic in the commercial settlement. Blocked drainages and poor sanitary condition, among others, are the ugly sights that dot the streets. With the advent of the rainy season, sanitary situation has gone worse.
Any visitor coming to Ota from the Lagos end, will notice the contrasting picture to the clean and green image of Lagos sidewalks on entering the boisterous town lined with heaps of refuse, which are indiscriminately dumped at various spots at the garage, including the road median.
Most available spaces in the Sango market have been turned into makeshift refuse dump that oozes with foul smell. Some of the refuse, though burnt occasionally, still cause eyesore to passersby. The whole length of the drainage from the market to the newly constructed bridge have been turned to another dumpsite with market wastes, nylons and other food items swimming leisurely.
Even within the city, the situation is not different. At Popoola Street, behind Gateway Bank, both sides of the untarred road that runs through the street have been turned to another dumpsite. At the Joju Road that links up with the Idi-Iroko expressway, the drainage has become a refuse dump. Both sides of the expressway towards the Oju-Ore junction have also been turned to a dumpsite.
Directly opposite the Gateway Hotel and at the Ilo-Awela Road to the toll-gate junction, it is the same story of filth. Even the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) premises in Ota is littered with water sachets and refuse.
WHEN The Guardian visited the Sango market, most of the traders expressed their displeasure on the state of refuse in the city. Mrs. Ayinla, said traders decided to dump refuse at the place when the local government officials refused to provide a dumpsite. She lamented that despite the daily ticket fees paid to the council, there has been no attempt to either provide them with an alternative or remove the dirt; rather, it is the traders selling in the area that always take the initiative to burn the refuse in order to reduce the stench emanating from it.
Another trader, Chukwuma Innocent, also indicted local government officials for their nonchalant attitude to the health of residents in the area. He noted that efforts have been made by traders to always make the market clean, which includes the weekly sanitation exercise. He therefore advised the council to adopt a system in which refuse dumped in the market is evacuated every morning, rather than allowing it to become a mountain heap and an eyesore to passersby before something is done.
“In a situation where genuine governance reigns, government should be alive to its responsibilities and clear up the mess, but it seems everybody in Ado-Odo Ota local government is asleep,” he said.
When The Guardian visited the council secretariat, health officials hesitated to react to the issue. But the Vice Chairman, Alhaja Nosimot Akinpelu, said efforts have been made to evacuate the refuse and make the town clean. She noted that the assistance of private partners are being sought to assist the administration in getting the town free of dirt.
She added that they have just acquired some machinery to assist the council in meeting up with the refuse dumped daily by traders and residents alike.