Thursday, June 11, 2020

Environmental Security: Former Anambra Commissioner Decries Environmental Degradation

Former Anambra State Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Ifedi Okwenna has decried the level of environmental degradation in the state.
In a press statement, Okwenna stated that the urban population boom, high unemployment, poverty and decaying physical environment in the three major cities of Onitsha, Awka, and Nnewi are rapidly degenerating into decadence.

The former Commissioner lamented over the relocation of most Onitsha businessmen prefer to Asaba in Delta State, as a result of the uninhabitable state of the commercial city.
He complained that Onitsha itself may be submerged under flood over a period of time if the continued sand-filling of the Otumoye/Nwangene River and the dumpling of refuse inside the drainage channels are not stopped.

The environmental consultant also said a number of houses including churches in Onitsha, are currently built on top of existing underground stormwater channels unregulated, blocking the free flow of flood through them.
According to him, “Many internal roads built by the previous Government are today deteriorating and street hawkers are back displaying wares by street sides making the roads impassable.

The former commissioner noted that his term in office led to the opening of all the dilapidating drainage channels and introduced a standard waste collection and disposal system, established Environmental Corp(Envocorp) and Environment Marshals that policed the streets; making it impossible for people to dump waste into the drains or display wares by the roadside.
“We partnered Market Associations to ensure they complied strictly with the waste disposal guidelines, dredged the Otumoye/Nwangene and connected floodwaters from parts of Onitsha into the River Niger.
“We also opened the Sakamori drainage and interconnected it with the underground flood channel network into the Otumoye/Nwangene and the River Niger,” said Okwenna.

He lamented over what he described as the inability of the current government to periodically service those drainage channels and the ongoing sand filling of Otumoye/Nwangene for housing development, which he said will result in submerging of Onitsha by flood in not too distant future.

“Nnewi and Awka are growing in the same original village setting they emerged from and the longer the delay in applying urban development strategies in the two cities, the more difficult it will become when we eventually decide to correct the mistakes of today,” he added.

He further outlined some of the achievements of his administration in improving the state’s environment which included; rehabilitation of the inner-city road networks, dualization of roads.

Others he mentioned were; the periodical re-asphalt and dualise some of the roads where necessary; the opening and reconnection of drainage systems to ensure a free flow of flood; amongst other infrastructure developments in the state.

Mr. then stressed the need for the government to reintroduce periodic maintenance and repainting of public buildings and management of public open spaces as it was done during his term as Commissioner

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