Lawrence Nwimo, Awka
Anambra State Government has shutdown about 100 shops and arrested 30 individuals for flouting environmental laws of the state.
The arrests were made when the Managing Director of Operation Keep Clean and Healthy (Ocha Brigade), Mr Celestine Anere led his men to markets in Awka, the state capital on Wednesday.
Anere, who spoke after the operation said the state government will no longer tolerate street traders who blocked roads and shop owners who keep their environment dirty.
“We are here this evening to decongest streets and stop hawkers and traders from blocking access roads for motorists to ply on the roads. We are tired of begging them not to trade on the main roads,” he said.
According to him, what they are doing is to arrest persons who hawk on the streets and confiscate their goods, noting that they must set the streets free from blockage by traders.
He said that, while clearing the street traders, they discovered that drainages were filled to the brim and caused flooding when it rains.
“The control of flooding in this place is simple, what we need is just to desilt the drainage to allow water flow freely.
“Our intention is to desilt the drainage from Eke Awka to Amawabia bypass, both sides, and Agu Awka . We know this task will not be easy but we must get it right because solution is here. The governor is serious about clean and healthy Anambra and it is the duty of Ocha Brigade to get it done,” he said.
He also said that they are happy that the traders have started complying with the desilting order, noting that their shops would be opened immediately after evidence of serious commitment.
The MD also stated that those who built on drainage and water ways are being compelled to dismantle and allow water to flow freely.
“We close the shops because their shops were dirty, the desiltiing laws of Anambra State made it clear that you must keep your environment clean and clean gutters. Based on these laws, we are compelling the shop owners to desilt and keep their sorrounding clean. We will continue to close their shops untill they fully comply,” he said.
Speaking to newsmen, Chairman of St Mary Traders Association, Mr Obinna Umeh, said they have problems in clearing the drainage in their area.
According to him, they have cleared the drainage three times within the years and immediately after clearing the drainage it will be filled again because of tunnel closure.
He said that there are closed tunnels in the area which need to be opened to allow water flow freely and he appealed to the governor to help open the tunnels for effective desilttiing.