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Mixed reactions greet re-introduction of sanitation exercise in Akwa Ibom

By Effiong Udouroroh, Uyo on 01/09/2015

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Some environmental sanitation stakeholders and residents of Akwa Ibom State, have described the newly re-introduced monthly sanitation exercise in the state, as “very necessary, good idea and long-overdue” while others said: “It is not important, not attainable any longer.”

In separate interviews today in Uyo, some of them expressed the importance of the exercise and their acceptance of the re-introduction policy, while others who complained, described the re-introduction of the programme as “no longer necessary, because already, the people of Akwa Ibom State and other residents of the state are environmentally conscious.”

Mr. Joseph Okpo, who was today seen still cutting grasses and clearing gutters round his surroundings in Uyo, told a correspondent of News Express: “It is a good idea, I like it and I enjoy doing it.”

“Sanitising the environment is enhancing the health of inhabitants.” Mr. Okpo stressed.

Another respondent, Mr. Samuel Ekanem, an environmental graduate, lauded the state government for re-introducing the environmental cleanup exercise, saying that “it is a very commendable initiative, as it will equally help road users’ visibility, especially motorists, to see afar off, if the road side bushes are often cleared.”

“The ministry in charge of this policy should also enforce relevant laws against dumping and prompt clearance of refuse from gutters by residents, to ensure free flow of water, thereby curtailing the dangerous incidence of flooding in Akwa Ibom. The monthly sanitation exercise should be sustained beyond December,” Mr. Ekanem insisted.

Governor Udom Emmanuel, who flagged off the newly re-introduced environmental exercise in Uyo, the state capital on Saturday, flanked by his wife, Martha and the deputy governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo, had declared: “From this month of August, till December 2015, all citizens of Akwa Ibom State shall observe every last Saturday of every month, from 7am to 10am, as state environmental sanitation day.”

“The December period is so fixed, to enable the government to observe the extent of involvement and successes in the sanitation responsibility. Immediately all residents in the state have imbibed and sustained the expected cleanliness habits, the exercise shall be discontinued.” Gov.ernorEmmanuel added.

The governor, who stressed that “cleanliness is next to Godliness”, pointed out that, “Wherever you see an average Akwa Ibom person, one thing that will stand him out as remarkable, is cleanliness, no matter the nature of his pocket.”

He frowned at those building houses near ravines and blocking of the gutters with refuse, warning such people to desist from the unhealthy and dangerous practices. Gov. Emmanuel directed the state Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources to intensify and redouble their sensitisation and enlightenment campaigns, to put a stop to the harmful practices in Akwa Ibom, as he commended the ministry, for re-introducing the monthly clean-up exercise in the state.

He noted with optimism that, a clean and neat Akwa Ibom environment will further attract the envisaged and much expected influx of both local and foreign investors into the state.

Earlier in his remarks at the flag-off ceremony, the Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Dr. Iniobong Essien, stated that his ministry “has declared war against indiscriminate disposal of wastes” in all parts of the state.

Dr. Essien proclaimed: “This initiative, this wisdom and this vision are divine and unprecedented, as we have declared this environmental war,” describing Deacon Udom Emmanuel as “our environmental-friendly Governor” and “one who is very passionate to our environment.”

He commended the governor for the interest and support he had rendered to the environment ministry in carrying out the exercise, in a few months of his assumption of office, and he enjoined all the citizens to participate in the exercise.

“Life is a function of environment, the healthy environment is a healthy life,” the commissioner remarked, adding that “God will also help us to protect our environment from degradation.”

The governor and the Environmental commissioner, with their inspection teams, thereafter embarked differently, on monitoring tour of Uyo and some other local government areas of the state, to ensure compliance and effective participation in the exercise by residents.

The environmental cleanup exercise has already been described as “highly enthusiastic” and “very successful” by participants and residents.

News Express reports that other dignitaries present at the flag-off ceremony included, commissioners, some members of the state house of assembly, permanent secretaries, state chairman of PDP, some senior PDP stakeholders, security operatives and sizeable members of the general public.

•Photo shows Gov. Emmanuel

Source News Express

Posted 01/09/2015 05:49:42 AM

 

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