In his inaugural address, the newly elected Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf of Kano has announced the immediate development of a task force on refuse disposal, evacuation of drainages, and street cleaning. He called this Operation Nazafa. The directive that all vehicles and business places should have waste bins takes effect from June 1, 2023. Residents are beginning to react to the order. For instance, despite approving the governor’s proposal, drivers and business owners urged the new administration to focus on the state’s waste management agency.
Different reactions have trailed the announcement. A rickshaw driver had said that the basket would just be like decoration in tricycles. Passengers in these vehicles only take sachet water, according to him, and it would be hyperbolic to think these plastic bags are what makes Kano dirty. A female shop owner also stated that the problem is not executing the order; however, when the dustbins are disposed of at the designated bin location, the major factor in keeping Kano clean lies with those who have been tasked with managing these designated places.
Previous admin had sold off the state-owned waste management agency.
Another rickshaw driver added that the only way to keep Kano clean is for the government waste managers to be active on the job. A trader at the Yankura market also believes that having waste bins around business places will partially solve the issue of dirt as it will nudge people not to dump waste indiscriminately after use. However, one furious car owner wondered why the waste management board is not being tasked to perform better.
According to him, Capegate, the waste management company to which people pay for sanitation, are missing in action. “Where is the waste management board? Where is the money that the government made after selling out?” he queried. He added that the government has to review why the same policy failed in the last administration before imposing it again. Governor Abdullahi Ganduje had in May 2021 scrapped the Refuse Management and Sanitation Board (REMASAB). The state’s waste management was then handed to a private company, Capegate Investment Limited.
Kano State was to make money from the arrangement.
The former Commissioner for the Environment, Kabiru Getso, said that Kano State was to make money from the agreement at the time. Getso had said that the company would start remitting N50 million per month to the state government. He had further said that it would increase to N100 million the next year, and then N200 million the third year. “That’s how it will continue till the duration of the agreement,” the commissioner had said. This arrangement did not work in Kano as waste continued to litter major streets in the state.
A report by Clean Up Nigeria has revealed that Kano State is ranked the fifth dirtiest state in Nigeria after Abia, Lagos, Kogi, and Anambra States. The lack of proper sanitation and waste management in Kano has also contributed to the spread of cholera in the state. Cholera is an acute diarrheal illness caused by infection. People can get sick when they swallow food or water contaminated with the bacteria. The report noted that the situation will affect the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6, which is clean water and sanitation.
Heaps of refuse waste seems to be a catalyst for flooding and diseases in Kano.
Streets in Kano are currently littered with heaps of refuse waste, causing discomfort to road users. It has also been highlighted as one of the causes of flooding and diseases. The heaps have taken over areas like Igbo Road by Flyover, France Road, New Road by Eldorado, IBB Way, Kantin Kwari, and the Yankura market. Traders around these environs told the media that the wastes are dumped at night by both the market people and local refuse carriers known as “Mai Shara.”