Oyo State Governor, ‘Seyi Makinde, on Thursday expressed his administration’s readiness to improve the environmental and social well being of residents of the state in line with global best practices.
Governor Makinde spoke at the official launch of the Awotan Landfill and unveiling of Clean and Green Waste Trucks, at the Awotan Landfill, Akufo Road, Ibadan, noting that the project would provide job opportunities for self-reliance to 3,000 residents of the community.
The governor equally pledged to fix the Awotan Health Centre, adding that his government had the plan to have one standard health care facility in every ward of Oyo State.
He said, “When we were confronted with the issue of waste in Oyo State, we had two main choices. One, a quick fix, which could have happened sooner, or a more complex and far-reaching solution, which would take some time.
“The quick fix would have just meant that we are just kicking the ball further down the road. Sometimes in the future, we will, again, be confronted with the issue of waste disposal. Maybe then, it will be another administration that will deal with it but we would have gone away with the tag of ‘Architect of Modern Oyo State.’
“One, those who live near this dump site, the nearest settlement, is just about 200 meters away from where we are right now, would have had to continue dealing with their groundwater contamination and their water will have remained unsafe for them to drink.
“The Baale of Awotan has asked us to fix the health centre here and I want to assure you that we will do it. We already put a plan in place to have one standard health care facility in every ward in Oyo State and we will have 351 of them.
“Secondly, they would have continued to live with the stench coming from this dumpsite. The multiplier effect is that those who have properties for rent around here would have a hard time letting them out and, of course, I have spoken about the health implications as well.”
“As a matter of fact, when I met some people here, they said they abandoned their houses here and relocated to the city but, the good news is, they are coming back now.
“I want to acknowledge the immense contribution of our late compatriot and former Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Hon. Kehinde Ayoola. He did all the planning and groundwork to make sure that this project turns out as it is today.
“May the good Lord continually be with his family. Let me also thank the current Commissioner for Environment, Barrister Idowu Oyeleke, for seeing the project to a logical conclusion.
“So, as I said earlier, we decided on the second option. Yes, it took more time, which meant that people complained about refuse disposal for a little longer but we knew that when we accomplish what we set out to accomplish here, the result will be glaring to all.”
Governor Makinde maintained that the success of the landfill project has led to the creation of massive job opportunities, as, according to him, 500 private companies have been registered for refuse collection, with each of them expected to recruit at least six people including drivers and refuse packers.
“We are standing on the ground now and we can see everywhere. So, apart from this environment, the total rehabilitation of this landfill resulted in engaging over 500 registered private companies in refuse collection. Each of those companies will employ at least a driver, a number of packers and others. If you multiply six by five hundred it will give you 3,000 direct jobs.
“The last time we came here, we discovered that access will be a challenge. We had to look for an alternative route. The Apete-Awotan road is less than 1,500 metres and once you pass this place further down to Akufo junction, the traffic will be less. So, in less than six to eight weeks, the problem of access to this place will have been completely solved.”
Earlier, in his welcome address, the Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Dr. Abdulateef Oyeleke, said that the landfill project was a crucial part of the broad plan to reposition Ibadan as a sustainable and ideal metropolitan city free from dirt and filth.
Oyeleke added, “This project has bridged the sad gap of 21st century urban waste transportation, by introducing the clean and green trucks through PPP arrangement. The trucks are well-equipped to evacuate refuse from the various collection points and safely transport the same to the landfill.
He appealed to house owners in Oyo State to complement the effort of the state government by promptly paying waste bills in order to achieve a safe, clean and healthy environment.
He added that with the successful completion and commissioning of the Awotan landfill, the contractor would mobilize to Ajakanga dump site for its rehabilitation and upgrading to landfill status.
He said, “Another good thing that we have derived from here is, before we completed this project, we had been receiving commendation from the residents of this area. What we did here is purely scientific. The gas component here can power 1megawatt of electricity on 1 hectare of land.
“Since we have six hectares here, we can generate 6 megawatts of electricity. On renewable energy, we will partner LAUTECH for them to use this place as the practical.”