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SPECIAL REPORT: Enugu’s Urban Dirty, ESWAMA Workers Retrenched, As Operations Prove Ineffective

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Residents in urban and suburbs of Enugu state, have widely decried the poor environmental state of the city in many unpleasant ways while lamenting that Enugu State Waste Management (ESWAMA) operations are ineffective.

The individuals lamented over poor waste evacuation exercise by ESWAMA operatives, as streets, markets and settlements have been ravaged by scattered dumpings, leaving the environment hazardous for them.

However, workers in the agency numbering about 163 was found out to have been retrenched. This happened few months ago in mid 2022 under the administration of Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.

The explanation for being laid off came on the heels of protest by the affected staff. They claimed that their sack was illegal, malicious and meant to punish their families. Some staffs stated that the citizens also say abusive words to them and the firm does nothing about it using the “customers are always right” to justify bad habits.

Mr. Greg Anyadike, one of the agency’s management team explained the laying off exercise was part of efforts to reposition the agency to improve service delivery as stated by ESWAMA boss.

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Anyadike told our reporters in Enugu that the affected staff were retrenched for various reasons, ranging from certificate forgery, over age and retirement age.

He said that some of the staff, whose physical strength could no longer match the level of work required in the agency as well as those whose performance input was poor were also affected.

Following further, it was discovered that the agency was over staffed. He said the retrenchment was part of efforts to reposition the agency and appealed to the affected staff to understand that it was not maliciously motivated. He said that the benefits of the staff would be paid to them in full.

On separate interviews conducted with a number of the dwellers in Enugu on Friday, Nov. 11th, 2022, the agency notwithstanding was criticized heavily for negligence of duty and wrong attitude to work.

Observations gathered also by our reporters further revealed that several waste dumpsters positioned in strategic areas, have been badly ruptured and unfit for waste dumping in many locations. Obukpa Layout, Ogui junction, University Market Road, Garki, Amokwe, Ogige market, Abakpa, Nike, Urban Girls Road, Ikpa Market, to mention but a few have been at the receiving end.

A pregnant woman, Mrs Ugwu Amanda residing at Ogwuiyi Mbuke area of University Market road lamented that her residence is becoming unbearable as awful smell from the waste bin close to her house makes her throw out often. She said, “this area is unbearable for us especially me. I vomit every time because of the bad smell that emanate from this waste site. It’s rarely completely packed out and I’ve told my husband to do something about leaving this area.”

Also, a resident in Abakpa, Serah Onyia also complained bitterly about her surroundings. She complained, “the streets are used as dustbins. People do pay ESWAMA bills but they always give excuses that their trucks can’t go to our sides because of hills.

“ Whenever they mistakenly pass through streets in Abakpa, you charge the people to pay money. Money for bins they are not collecting and it’s very bad. Lagos is not like this, in fact, Enugu is dustbin. I’m from Enugu but I’m very disappointed. I’m not proud of it.”

Additionally, dispatch riders stationed at Peace Mass transit park also lend their voice. During a discussion with one of our reporters, they chorused “Enugu is in the hands of God” with emphasis, decrying the deplorable situation of some roads they toe.

One of them, Mr Ikemefuna disclosed that he constantly avoid business that will make him pass through borehole street at Obukpa layout, stating that the waste bin has rendered the road useless and has led to punctured tyres several times.

A close monitoring on the environmental situation in Nsukka also showed that some ESWAMA operatives in some mornings and evenings burn refuses on the spot, in areas less frequented with commercial activities, leaving the air polluted for several hours before evacuating some of the remains.

It was also gathered that number of dump trucks in sight are getting lesser by the day compared to the massive dumps of refuse by people living in urban areas.

What Then Is ESWAMA Doing ? In 2017, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Governor of the state, vowed to make “radical changes” if the Enugu State Waste Management Agency (ESWAMA) failed to curb the growing filth on Enugu roads. He also set up a taskforce to assist ESWAMA in its duties.

However, five years later, Enugu remains dirty as ever. The trucks struggle to keep up with the daily load of garbage they must gobble up. Messy heaps continue to reappear by the main roads every waking day. Poor management and insufficient waste disposal facilities still remain the major challenges confronting ESWAMA negatively.

The recurring theme of trash heaps popping up at street corners point at the very obvious challenge of trash dumping. There are less dumpsters and trash cans on the streets than required. ESWAMA needs to keep the trash properly tucked in the dumpsters pending the time they wait for disposal. More trash cans, dumpsters, and waste bins are urgently needed around Enugu to keep the trash out of sight. Waste dumped indiscriminately clogs the drainage channels and leads to flooding during wet season and could also lead to fire outbreak. The implication of these actions are that waste dumps at Enugu state environs and the negligence of ESWAMA pose serious threats to the health of the residents and on environment they found themselves in. The situation can lead to severe health issues and exposes humans to widespread diseases such as cholera, diarrhea and typhoid fever.

Mr. Gboyega Olorunfemi, a Principal Consultant at Enviromax Global Resources Limited, posited that improper waste disposal also cause mal-nutrition and stunted growth in children as well as respiratory illness, risk and exposure to contaminated water and food.


Management is a cardinal point of environmental sustainability and crucial to environmental health. Waste management in Enugu state has become ineffective in recent time. People often dump their waste indiscriminately, thereby exposing the inhabitants of the area to dangerous diseases due to the mess caused by the waste.

In 2013, according to a research published by Project Ng, there were one thousand workers in a ESWAMA and 150 administrative group since inception, with the dominant number (400) deployed in Nsukka, but what could be the problem?

At inception, ESWAMA was laced with the responsibilities of; evacuation and prevention of refuse build-up, clearance of public markets of wastes, and ensuring the cleanliness of major highways and streets. Others are: provision of counseling to private refuse operators on waste management, establishment of performance standards on waste management activities and identification of sites for development of waste management as contained in The Connect Africa Magazine, 22 October 2013.

The attitudes of urban dwellers also constitutes a major constraint to the effective implementation of existing waste management polices of government.

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