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Tension as Onitsha South LG. Council seals off NIWA park over refuse heaps

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By Chuks Eke

There was a palpable tension yesterday at a motor park located inside the National Inland Water Ways Authority, NIWA, Bridgehead Onitsha, Anambra state as the the Onitsha South Local Government authorities sealed off the park over heaps of refuse dumps.

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The sealing off exercise which took place at about 3 p.m. was personally supervised by the Chairman of Onitsha South Local Government transition committee, Hon. Emeka Orji.

The exercise commenced with dragging out of all the commercial vehicles loading inside the park, passengers and their luggages, as well as the operator of the park himself, Chief Ngozi Okpagu and his workers.

The exercise was kick started with the pasting of court order obtained by the local government authorities from a magistrate court in Onitsha and the pasting of sealing order from the Environmental Department of the council.

When newsmen visited the scene, a caterpillar was seen loading the refuse bins inside trucks for evacuation.

Speaking to newsmen amidst the raging tension arising from the evacuation exercise, the council chairman, Hon. Orji hinted that he had personally gone to the park about six weeks ago to ask the park operators to evacuate the refuse heaps but to no avail.

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The council boss added that each time Governor Soludo passed through the area, he usually call him to ask why he allowed refuse dump to be cited within that environment, which was why the council authorities provided the caterpillar and trucks currently loading and evacuating the refuse bins.

Orji further hinted that his letter to the park owners about two weeks ago and a reminder were rebuffed, leaving him with no other option than to go to the court of competent jurisdiction to obtain an order to seal the park for causing environmental hazards to the general public.

Besides, Orji alleged that the park operators could not produce evidence of payment of sanitation rate for the park, despite several demand notices issued to them by the council authorities.

As the sealing off exercise was on going, the park operator, Ngozi Okpagu quickly rushed to the scene and could no longer gain entrance into the park because the gate had been sealed off.

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When asked why he could neither meet with the council, nor respond to his earlier notices to evacuate the refuse dump, Okpagu claimed that he had an auto accident which fractured his leg and sent him on an admission to a hospital for some time now.

But Hon. Orji told him frantically that it was too late to reverse the court order since he could not instruct his manager to clear the refuse dump, neither could he make a direct phone call to the local council authorities, while in the hospital.

Orji said he even offered to assist the park operators with two trucks to help them in evacuating the refuse dump but they could not utilize such an opportunity to avert this type of situation till this moment, adding that it is now too late to cry when the horse has bolted out.

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