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Waste manager denies breaching contract with Oyo

A waste management company, WestAfricaENRG, has said that it did not breach its contract with the Oyo State Government.

Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria

The company stated this in a statement issued by Mr Paul O’Callaghan, its Chief Executive Officer, and made available to newsmen on Saturday, November 9, 2019 in Ibadan, the state capital.

Kehinde Ayoola, Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, had, on Friday, announced the termination of the company’s contract with the state government.

The commissioner had hinged the contract termination on the allegation that the company had failed to live up to expectation in waste management, claiming that the state experienced unbearable heaps of refuse in the last four weeks.

“The company has failed in its performance under the contract it signed with Oyo State Government, which is significant enough for the state to terminate the contract.

“Being the main employer of the contractor, the Oyo State Government has deemed it fit to relieve West Africa Energy of its duties, so as to ensure efficient waste management in the state,” Ayoola said.

However, O’Callaghan said that the company was constrained to defend its integrity by responding to the announcement by the commissioner terminating the contract with the state government due to material breach.

He said that the development did not only come as a rude shock, but also represented a breach of procedure for contract’s termination.

According to O’Callaghan, “we categorically deny any material breach of our contract and this is the first time we have heard of any such matter.

“WestAfricaENRG is an international company, working in waste management and recycling in most ECOWAS countries, including many states across Nigeria,” he said.

O’Callaghan described his company as one of the largest private investors in the waste management sector in Nigeria, adding that it was a major job creator in Oyo State.

He stressed that the company had been subjected to the contracts review committee during which, he said, no fault was found.

“Subsequently, the company was invited to several meetings of the ad-hoc committee on waste management to give situation reports, perspectives and solutions to the menace of refuse collection and waste management in the state,” he said.

O’Callaghan revealed that the report of the ad-hoc committee was presented to, and accepted by, Gov. Seyi Makinde on Oct. 16, stating that his company had performed creditably-well.

He said that the committee found government to have failed in its responsibility of compelling local governments in the state to enforce waste disposal and street trading, among other matters.

The company’s boss said that the committee also advised government against the politicisation of waste management, saying that this was a key factor in the menace of solid waste in Ibadan metropolis.

“In fact, the only mention of WestAfricaENRG in the report stated that we have made tremendous achievements regarding the cleaning the city from the immediate post-election challenges.

“We are, therefore, at a loss as to when our company did not live up to expectation.

“Any PPP (public-private partnership) contract is a partnership and in this case, it is the government of Oyo State which is in significant material breach of the contract, through the inaction of the Ministry of Environment.

“This move can only be described as political and one which we believe will not serve the people of Oyo State well,” he said.

O’Callaghan advised the state government to review its action, as the company would be left with no choice than to explore other options to challenge what he called unlawful disengagement.

By Akeem Abas

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