By Festus Ahon – Asaba
Delta State Taskforce on Environment has vowed to demolish shanties and illegal structures that were defacing the Asaba capital city and other major towns in the State as part of an effort towards keeping the State clean.
The State Commissioner for Environment, Mr Chris Onogba in a joint press briefing with other members of the task force; the State Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, the Director-General of Asaba Capital Territory Development Agency, Mrs Joan Mrakpor, Chairman of the State Waste Management Board, Mr Emmanuel Chinye and Director General of the State Orientation Agency, Mr Eugene Uzum, said the demolition exercise would commence next week Monday.
Onogba insisted that there would be no sacred cow in the enforcement of the law, adding that; “We want to leave Delta in a better position than we met it; we want to ensure that the state does not depend only on oil as its mainstay and source of revenue.
“If we think about diversification, then tourism will play a major role and as we know, tourism cannot thrive in a dirty environment. As from Monday next week, our approach is going to be holistic. We will pull down all the shanties and we are doing massive evacuation of wastes across the state.
“So, everyone must play a role to salvage the environment and we must all put our ideas together to have a cleaner environment. What we are doing is not limited to Asaba. All the shanties and structures that deface the environment and buildings without government approval in any part of the state shall be brought down”.
The Delta State Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu on his part, said the group was created by the state government to tackle the issue of sanitation in the state.
Aniagwu said; “this task force is made up of strategic bodies relevant to the maintenance of the environment because it is said that ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’. It is a government initiative involving the entire citizenry and designed to ensure that people keep their environment clean”.
According to him, those who flout the environmental law would be made to face the law, saying that the media briefing was to sensitise the people about the new direction the government was heading in the management of the environment to ensure cleanliness.
On his part, the Director-General of the Delta State Orientation Agency, Mr Eugene Uzum, said the people needed a re-orientation to enable them to do the right thing to ensure a cleaner environment, adding that the agency has commenced massive public orientation to persuade the people to take a clean environment as a lifestyle.
Also, Mrs Joan Mrakpor, the Director-General of Asaba Capital Territory Development Agency, said stakeholders have met where it was that enforcement of the environmental law should commence after 21 days.
Mrakpor said; “We decided that it was proper to dialogue with the stakeholders, so we sent out invitations to business owners, among others, and the meeting was well attended”.
She told business operators in the state to keep their environment clean to ensure good health and a conducive business area.
Chairman of Delta State Waste Management Board, Mr Emmaunel Chinye, said they recently arrested, prosecuted and got one Mrs Moseuratu Omotosho and Mr Zubaru Abubakar (a truck pusher) convicted for indiscriminate dumping of waste.
Chinye said: “Last week, we arrested Abubakar and he took us to Omotosho, who sent him to throw away the refuse. They were both arrested and taken to a mobile court, where they were convicted and she (Omotosho) paid N35,000.”
He said the truck pusher who could not pay his fine, was currently serving two months imprisonment at the Ogwashi-Uku prison.