June 19, 2009

Sanitation levy: Enugu threatens to shut down banks, hotels

By Tony Edike

ENUGU—THE Enugu State Waste Management Authority (ESWAMA) has threatened to shut down operations of some companies that have refused to settle arrears of sanitation fees demanded by the authority since last year.

Managing Director of ESWAMA, Mr. Greg Anyaegbudike observed with dismay that most companies in the state have deliberately planned to frustrate efforts of the Authority in keeping the metropolis clean by not settling their debts.

He said that the state’s environmental court has already served the affected banks and hotels about 108 summons and 50 bench warrants for failing to settle their sanitation bills.

Anyaegbudike said that the authority would through legal means stop activities of the companies that have refused to pay their bills, stressing that such a sanction had become imperative since operators of such companies are unwilling to fulfill their obligations to the agency.

The ESWAMA Head of Legal Department, Mrs. Comfort Ezenyirioha Comfort had confirmed that over 230 residents have been arrested in various parts of Enugu metropolis from June 2 to date for committing the same offence, while about 3,000 residents in New Haven alone owed ESWAMA backlog of sanitation levies running into millions of naira.

The ESWAMA boss, who expressed surprise on why companies and residents were not forth-coming in the payment of their sanitation fees even with improved services being rendered by ESWAMA, however, vowed that he would leave no stone unturned in recovering the outstanding debts.

His words: “The enforcement of sanitation levies has been rough despite the excellent services rendered to the people. I know it is not in their culture but I tell you we must collect all the monies. Most especially the companies have done so much in trying to frustrate our efforts by not paying their fees. We have charged their matter to court to give them the opportunity for fare hearing.

“But I know that the environment court was empowered by Cap 75 of Enugu State reversed laws, using its discretion to shut down any company that contravenes the sanitation law. So it can never be correct for people not to pay for their levies after over 350 paid radio announcement and series of newspaper publications, jingles.”