Epidemic outbreak now stares the people of Rivers State as refuse heaps take over virtually all parts of Port Harcourt. There is hardly any part of the state capital that is free of refuse dumps, from where offensive odour oozes.
Only recently, the state government gave a marching order to the Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor local governments of the state to ensure that the refuse dumps are cleared.
But rather than go down, the refuse heaps have increased across all parts of the state. this is happening at a time that the sole administrator of the state waste management agency, Felix Obua, is battling to secure the PDP ticket to be able to succeed Nyesom Wike as governor.
Although, the governor is yet to make a statement on the fate of the sole administrator who has been on that seat since the coming of Wike. At a point, he was both sole administrator of RIWAMA as well as chairman of the PDP in the state.
He has been allowed to run the affairs of the agency alone, despite what the law establishing the agency says.
In some parts of the state capital, the refuse heaps have grown to become mountains of some sort. With the coming of the rains, it has continued to pose serious health challenge to those residing near those places.
A public health expert, Mr. Obasi Chikezie has warned against the health implications of the increasing refuse heaps in the state capital.
Obasi, in a chat with TNN said “health encompasses a total well- being of an individual. Refuse heaps negatively affect every aspect of our health.
“Psychologically, it defaces the environment. It oozes foul odour which makes one uncomfortable. It is a breeding site for disease causing agents. It also sustains vectors like rat, flies etc. It has the potential to encourage epidemic.”
Meanwhile, motorists and traders in Port Harcourt have called for the immediate resignation of the chairman, Rivers State Waste Management Agency, Felix Obuah. They made this call following the gory sight of refuse heaps in various parts of the state capital.
They expressed disappointment, stating that Obuah has failed the people of Rivers State. At places such as Rukpokwu, Rumuodamaya-Rumuokoro, Rumuigbo, Eleme, Omagwa, in Port Harcourt, the refuse heaps have grown to the heavens.
Also, Igwuruta, St. Johns-Iwofe of Port Harcourt, heaps of refuse littered the whole stretch of the median.
It is same scenario at Eneka and other parts of the city. Some of the traders at Igwuruta and Eneka First Market, who spoke to TNN complained that the horrid smell from the heaps is threatening their health.
They also expressed fear that there could be an epidemic if the refuses were not evacuated.
The respondents therefore urged RIWAMA boss to either resign and face his governorship ambition or get committed to restoring the defaced treasure base of the nation to its lost glory.
A motorist who gave his name simply as Mr. Ifeanyi Iwuji said “my dear this is wickedness, wickedness, see where we park our keke, we are breathing this thing, it is smelling too much. We also eat here, haba! Help us and tell the Oga to resign, he should resign.
“He should resign because he cannot serve two masters at the same time, he cannot, he should follow his campaign and his ambition and hand over to another person.
“Some of us are sick, we are sick, what we eat from smelling this thing can kill someone, it is poison. Obuah should choose one, resign and go for election, or focus on the office and work.”
Another respondent, who is a trader at Igwuruta market, Mrs. Ijeoma Wonodi, said “they don’t hear, no job, nothing, we are suffering in this state. I don’t know why nothing is working well in this Rivers State, nothing, ordinary to evacuate dust bin is a problem.
“Well, I support that the man should resign, he is not working, so he should resign.”
Mr. John Amadi said, “Obuah was trying before now, yes, we all know that it is this governorship thing that is the problem.”
Reacting to the call for his resignation, Amadi said, “what if he doesn’t win as the governor, will he lose the two? My own is that he should appoint someone to assist him while he continues with his campaign.”