Despite alleged poor sanitation management in the State and the attendant return of refuse hips in public and private places, the Akwa Ibom State Government through the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources has moved a step further to add pains to members of the public through mass exploitation in the name of Sanitation/Effluent Discharge/Pollution Fee.
The Sensor gathered that through demand notice made on the said exploitation in which a copy has been made available to our newsroom, the State Government has unilaterally sold out the collection of fees to Messrs Interland Spring and Coastal Limited with account No. 1014110972 (Zenith Bank).
The demand notice read in parts, “Pursuant to the Akwa Ibom State Environmental Protection and Waste Management Law (AKEPWA2000), the Akwa Ibom State Government has directed us to notify you of your financial obligation for the year 2018 as stated below; Effluent Discharge Fee; Sanitation fee; Pollution Fee, and EIA Certificate Plastic Roller Waste Bin.”
The Sensor gathered that while refuse litters virtually all parts of the State without serious efforts to clear them, the State Government is only interested in exploiting the poor business people in the name of collecting fees.
It was further gathered that what is even worse is the exorbitant rate of collection fee ranging from N10,000 to N100,000 annually.
Speaking with our correspondent, a business operator who owns a small medicine shop in Uyo, said that the exorbitant fee charged by the consultant is unprecedented in the history of the State. He called on the State Government to reverse the charge.
If the so called Dakkada initiative is to be made meaningful, he wondered why he is forced to pay 20,000 for a year in a small business like medicine store.
Another business operator who has also been served with demand notice, said despite the fact that he has his waste receptacle, the government still forces plastic roller waste bin fee on him even when such has not been provided.
He advised the State Government to call the consultant to order in the interest of justice.
Attempt to reach the State Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources for reaction proved abortive while calls to the phone number on the receipt for the demand notice did not connect as at the time of filing this report.