1. Gentlemen of the press, permit me to make the following clarifications over the recent publications and attacks by the former governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzo Kalu and his minions on the waste management in Aba.
2. It is not news that since the liberation of Abia State from adulatory and repression by Governor T.A Orji, Abians have seen the light, and we now know better how we were held down by Orji Kalu. Unanimously we rejected Orji Uzo Kalu and whatever he represents. Therefore it is not a surprise to us that Kalu, considering his political pariah status, will engage in all kinds of blackmail, falsehood and half-truth to seek attention in his desperation to return to power. Too bad for him, Abians have taken a position against him.
3. It is unfortunate that a man who impoverished and enslaved the entire state, reduced Abia to a family business is now talking about thing he failed to do when he held sway. Kalu cannot approach the moral high grounds of criticism especially regarding waste management in Aba because he failed to deal with the same problem. It was infact worst during his tenure. Ordinarily Kalu should not be given attention, but for the sake of those who are not familiar with the state, where Kalu left it, and what the current administration has done to rebuild the state, it is necessary to react to some of the baseless and unfounded publications by Kalu and his men, to set the record straight.
4. There is no gainsaying that Kalu presided over the meltdown of Abia. The environmental and waste management of the state, Aba in particular, collapsed under the very watch of Orji Kalu, and he did nothing about it. Heaps of refuse which Orji Kalu couldn’t evacuate was part of burdens this present government inherited and we have attacked it head-on, the result is what ASEPA is doing today in Aba, which is appreciated by well meaning and right thinking persons. I wish to cast your memory to the comment of Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, sometimes in 2006 regarding the filth in Aba, when he challenged Kalu to face the garbage problem and perish his wishful thought about the presidency.
5. Since about year that I resumed as Deputy General Manager of ASEPA in charge of Aba and Environs, Aba has never been what it used to be under Kalu in terms of waste management, residents of Aba can testify to this, we have been able to interpret the vision of Governor T.A Orji, who has remained resolute in ensuring that Abia does not return to the locust years of Kalu. For the first time in the history of Abia State, there is a data about waste generation per capita. Secondly, there is a waste management policy in place.
6. Today, we have a template for waste collection and disposal in Aba. We may not be where we ought to be by now, but we are certainly not where Kalu left us, we have moved further and have achieved a lot. We have done 60 per cent of what is needed for waste management in Aba. Refuse collection in Aba is done within the hours of 5pm to 10pm everyday when the people are expected to bring out their waste and dump them at the various ASEPA receptacles and garbage compactors provided and kept at strategic locations within Aba. After collection, we commence immediate evacuation of the receptacles or buckets to the final dump sites at Ihie along Port Harcourt Express Way, and we do the evacuation till 2am. In the morning we do what we call mopping up of the city with our garbage compactors and tippers sometimes with ASEPA evacuators.
7. Three weeks ago, we had challenges owing to the breakdown of some of the trucks, as we took them in for repairs, we went on air to inform our people in Aba about our challenges and the resultant effect of that was the delay in the evacuation of our receptacles from the streets within the period.
8. But we have arrested the situation. The trucks are back to work, and the evacuation of refuse has returned to what it used to be, except in some areas, like Port Harcourt road, where the roads are too bad that trucks can’t go to evacuate the refuse. However, with the effort of the state committee for intervention on federal roads, the refuse along Port Harcourt is been evacuated.
9. Let remind those they have commissioned to go about taking pictures of refuse dumps or receptacles that at no time will you visit a refuse dump or receptacles and expect not to see refuse. In our case, during the day, when our bucket minders must mopped up whatever that is remained after evacuation, the receptacles is kept and covered waiting for 5pm when it will be reopen for refuse collection.
10. Kalu’s co-travelers need to be reminded that the flagship of the Kalu administration on waste management was to urge Aba residents to bring out waste to the major streets. This policy is strange and lacks logical basis. This is exactly what we are battling to correct. Very soon in Abia State, Aba in particular, a waste recycling plant will be established, then domestic waste will be sorted from various household, collected at the point of generation and arranged in enclosed compactors to the recycling plant. In preparation for this dawn, sanitation clubs in schools are now preaching the gospel of waste sorting.
10. It is therefore foolhardy for failed and rejected politicians like Kalu to resort to making mountains out of molehills. Orji Kalu and his co-travelers should bury their heads in shame. It is in their best interest to do so because Abians are wiser now. They lost the opportunity they had to make Abia work; instead, they chose to enrich themselves at the expense of the entire state. I urge Abians not to take those who have nothing to offer serious.
Okezie Ikpeazu PhD
Deputy General Manager
Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA), Aba and Environs