Prof. Chukwuma Charles Soludo, Governor of Anambra State, has launched the Anambra Drainage Desilting Campaign and Operation in an effort to make 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 hear the 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 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, while lamenting the fact that some vendors sell on the streets and dump their waste in the gutters, clogging drainages.
“We are launching a program 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 is not known for filth! The air pollution emitted is hazardous and can cause illness in the body. A trader who inhales polluted odors for up to 8 hours a day will become ill because cleanliness is second only to godliness.
“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 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 Asaba,” Soludo noted.
The traders informed the Governor that illegal levies are collected by the Chairman of the Ochanja market. The Governor barred him and others from collecting levies from traders again.
He also stated that traders must come out once a week from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. to clean up before the markets open for trading.
The Governor forbade them from dumping solid waste in the gutters, which clogs the drainage systems.
Under his watch, Anambra must be the cleanest state in Nigeria, he said.
The Governor also encouraged them to plant trees because green is the color of life. He claims that planting trees will allow them to breathe clean, natural air.
Soludo used the medium to summon all Agberos to leave Onitsha right away. He revealed that they have been picking them up and imprisoning them, but another group from other states claims to be coming to Onitsha to hustle, which is Agbero work.
The Governor emphasized that touting is not handwork and a special task force has been formed and prisons expanded, to accommodate more touts who will be arrested.
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.
In a vote of thanks, Reverend Father Christian Onuekwusi thanked the Governor on behalf of the people of Onitsha South for coming to Ochanja to launch this campaign, which he described as an outstanding move. He prayed for the Governor’s success in his endeavors.
The Deputy Governor, Dr. Onyekachukwu Ibezim, Secretary to State Government, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, Chief of Staff, Mr. Ernest Ezeajughi, Commissioner for Environment, Felix Odimegwu, Commissioner for Special Duties, Sly Ezeokenwa, Commissioner for Youth Development, Patrick’ Aghamba, Commissioner for Works, Ifeanyi Okomma, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Collins Nwabunwanne, MD ASWAMA, Mike Ozoemena, MD Ocha Brigade, Celestine Anaere, MD ANSIPPA, Mark Okoye, Chief of Protocol, Chinedu Nwoye Glamour amongst others accompanied the Governor.