Lawrence Nwimo, Awka
Governor Chukwuma Soludo-led Anambra State Government has launched the Anambra drainage desilting campaign and operation towards making Anambra the cleanest state in Nigeria.
The campaign kicked-off at Ochanja Market in Onitsha South Local Government Council.
Addressing the traders and residents who had gathered in large numbers to witness the event, Governor Soludo stated that his visit to Ochanja Market was to inspect the level of waste debris in the market. He recalled cleaning up the area last year, but regretted the waste reappeared after the rains.
According to the Governor, Anambra and Ochanja must be clean. He stated that adequate planning will be made to properly channel flooding.
He revealed that previous plans under past governments to address flooding issues were ineffective. He lamented the fact that some vendors sell on the streets and willfully dump their waste in the gutters thereby clogging the drainage.
“We are launching a programme today to create a clean and sustainable Anambra. The rainy season has arrived, and we are here to help with this recurring issue.
“Ndi Anambra are not known for filth! The air pollution being emitted is hazardous and can cause illnesses in the body. A trader who inhales polluted odour for up to eight hours a day stands the risk of being ill.
“As a government, we have a duty to fulfill. The Ochanja Market, to which the entire world comes to trade, is filthy. “We will clean up the waste, and all of the gutters will be clean so that water can flow properly without flooding,” Soludo said.
“Shops built across gutters must be demolished!” All traders who used plywood to cover their gutters should remove it for massive desilting.
Anyone who fails to do so and the government does it for them will be fined. We are beginning the operations today and redirecting all waters to the Niger River.
“Everyone has a part to play!” I’ve heard of people collecting illegal levies from traders! They are not from the government, but rather Agberos. We will form enforcement teams and arrest and imprison anyone caught in the act.
“Ochanja must reclaim its former glory!” People from other states will be embarrassed to come here and buy, preferring to do business in other neighboring states,” Soludo noted.
The traders informed the Governor that illegal levies are collected by the Chairman of the Ochanja Market. The Governor subsequently barred anyone from collecting levies from traders again.
He also stated that traders must come out once a week between the hours of 8am to 10am to clean up before the markets before opening for trading.
The Governor further restrained them from dumping solid waste in the gutters, which clogs the drainage systems.
The Governor reiterated that under his watch, Anambra will emerge as the cleanest state in Nigeria if all work towards it.
He also encouraged them to plant trees affirming that green is the colour of life. He claims that planting trees will allow them to breathe clean, natural air.
Soludo used the medium to summon all touts (Agberos) to leave Onitsha right away.
The Governor emphasised that touting is not a vocation. He added that a special task force has been formed to get rid of touts and restore sanity back into the system.
Soludo stated that if the people are determined to see Agberos leave Onitsha for good, they will, and the government will greatly assist them in doing so.