By Edem Edem, Calabar
Heaps of refuse have returned to the streets and roads in Calabar, the Cross River state capital, presumably described as the cleanest city in Nigeria.
The refuse is threatening that enviable status of the city unless the ugly situation is addressed urgently in the coming weeks. At the time of filing this report, major streets and roads in the metropolis are spilling with heaps of refuse.
The refuse bin procured by the state government for refuse collection and evacuation is full to the brim and littering the streets to the detriment of movement and free flow of traffic.
Our correspondent reports that the streets including Edim Otop, White House, Mayne Avenue, Ekpo Abasi, Diamond, Chamley, Uwanse, Inyang, Mbukpa Market, Palm Street, Inyang Street by Ekpenyong Ekpenyong, Iman Junction, Mbukpa by Ambo street, State Avenue, Housing Estates are becoming an eyesore with refuse, which in addition to hindering movements and traffic, pose grave danger to the health of residents.
The offensive odour emitted by the refuse on approach by passers-by and residents living within the vicinity are inescapable. Some residents who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity lamented the non-clearance of the refuse and claimed that it has caused them ill health.
Many said they had visited the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital and the General Hospital, Calabar for treatment for health problems associated with the inhalation of odours coming from the refuse.
At the office of the Calabar Urban Development Authority, CUDA, the agency responsible for the cleaning the streets, no officer was ready to say a word to our correspondent.
But investigation shows that both the agency and the Ministry of the Environment are disabled by lack of equipment and manpower to do the job. A successful phone call made to the commissioner for the Environment, Engr Mike Eraye, was unanswered.
It turned out that the CUDA is occupying a rented apartment for which they have been unable to pay the rent running into several millions of Naira. The landlord is said to have made reports to the Ministry without success.
As at the time of filling this report, it was unclear if government had paid the rent.