The Senior Special Assistant to Gov. Alex Otti on Due Process, Dr Oluebube Chukwu, says that the Abia Government has adopted private sector participation to build an efficient waste management system in the state.
Chukwu said this on Saturday in an interview with newsmen on the sideline of this month’s environmental sanitation in Umuahia.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Abia Government on June 23 invited bids from the private sector operators for collaboration in its waste management initiative in Aba and Umuahia.
The governor’s aide said that the inclusion of the private sector in building a sustainable waste management system was aimed at creating a healthier environment and better life for the citizenry.
He said that the process of engaging the private sector participants would be in phases and that the first phase was concluded on Wednesday.
He said that the winners of the bids had been selected and grouped into preferred, reserved and second reserved bidders categories.
He said: “The preferred bidders, being the winners, are currently receiving notifications to a meeting and their letters for engagement are under review and will be served on each of the six preferred bidders.
“In the new week, they will be getting those invitations to a meeting; where the offer letter will be shared and the service benchmark will be discussed with them.
“At the meeting, negotiations will be concluded so that they can commence work immediately.”
Chukwu further said that the Otti-led administration, upon assumption of office, declared a state of emergency in the environment sector, with emphasis on waste management in the state.
“The idea of this private sector participation is primarily meant to get water in public areas completely sorted, create employment for our people, boost the economy of the state and contribute to cleaner and healthier Abia,” he said.
Chukwu also said that the emergency task force created to handle waste disposal would cease to function in order for the private sector participants to take over and further drive the administration’s rebuilding agenda.
He urged the people of Abia to imbibe the culture of environmental cleanliness and support the programs and policies evolved by the government to transform the state.
In a related development, the Commissioner for Environment and Urban Renewal, Mr Philemon Ogbonna, expressed satisfaction with the turnout of residents for the monthly exercise.
Ogbonna described the development as an indication that the efforts made to propagate the importance of environmental sanitation was beginning to yield good results.
According to him, going forward, there will be intensive sensitization for better outcomes.
Also, the General Manager, Abia State Environmental Protection Agency, Mr Ogbonnia Okereke, said that the agency had strategically positioned refuse collection trucks to ensure that the waste generated during the exercise would easily get cleared.
Okereke urged residents to make environmental sanitation part of their daily routine “since cleanliness is next to Godliness”.
The government had earlier in the week declared the August sanitation as part of the weeklong activities for commemorating the 32nd anniversary of Abia’s creation on Aug. 27, 1991.