By Vincent Ujumadu
AWKAâ€”ANAMBRA State government has warned that henceforth, those who failed to pay sanitation levies in the state would be charged to court or have their business premises closed down.
The state Commissioner for Special Duties and Transport, Mr. Emeka Ojukwu (Jnr.), who handed down the warning when he monitored the monthly clean up exercise in the state, said there was nowhere in the world, where government clears refuse for free.
â€œEverybody should pay. We have reviewed the sanitation levies and we will soon publish them so that people will know how much to pay. If anybody refuses to pay, we either close down the affected shop or take the owner to court.
We cannot continue with a situation where the government is paying for the exercises. It is not our job. Our job is to provide the enabling environment for the proper management of waste.
It is a pact between us and the people and the people have to pay for the services provided,â€ Ojukwu said. He explained that the state government was already negotiating with some firms for the establishment of incinerators in the state as a lasting solution to the problem of waste management in the state, adding that in the meantime, refuse dumps would continue to be used.
He said that contracts would soon be awarded to experienced waste disposal companies for proper evacuation of wastes in the state, pointing out that it would be a joint project between the state Environmental Management Agency (ANSEPA), the companies and government.
He added that already, government had ordered for 10 refuse compactors, which would ease refuse disposal as there would be no need for the use of tippers and pail loaders in carting away refuse.
Meanwhile, attempt by officials of the state government to enforce environmental sanitation law caused traffic chaos in the state capital and the commercial city of Onitsha, as commuters passing through the federal roads in the state were held up, until Ojukwu directed that they should be allowed to go, because proper awareness was not created for the exercise.
According to him, by next month, those who default would be charged instantly to sanitation courts, which will sit at strategic positions in Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi.