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Fear of epidemic looms in Owerri

By Chidi Nkwopara

OWERRI—Fears of an impending epidemic have gripped residents of Owerri and its adjoining communities, following heaps of uncleared refuse scattered in several parts of the municipality.

Already, fat house flies and rodents have made the dumps their home, while very offensive odour emanating from the decayed heaps of refuse is keeping the residents uncomfortable.

When Vanguard went to town to sample the opinion of residents of Owerri, the respondents were unanimous in their belief that government has remained indifferent to the situation.

A house wife, Mrs. Tina Iwuala, lamented that virtually all the markets in Owerri, had been taken over by refuse.

“House flies and rodents are now competing for space with human beings in our markets. It is sad that from the look of things, government is not serious about evacuating the heaps of refuse in the markets,” Mrs. Iwuala said.

In his own reaction, Pastor Ejike Emereonye expressed regret that the present administration simply jettisoned the system Chief Ikedi Ohakim used in tackling refuse collection and disposal.

“The streets are overflowing with refuse. It appears that those charged with the responsibility of evacuating refuse have either abdicated their duties or the government that sent them out is not funding their activities,” Emereonye reasoned.

He urged government to take notice of the likely effect of enthroning a filthy environment on the citizenry, stressing that “the state cannot afford the luxury of handling any epidemic in this period of cash crunch.”

When contacted for his comment, the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, expressed regret at the situation.

“My brother, this issue of refuse collection and dispossal is annoying. It was assigned to a particular task force. I am at the airport now, but when I come back to Owerri, I will check the group that is responsible for it,” Onwuemeodo said.


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