Environmental Defaulters to Face 2-Week Imprisonment

In a renewed drive to give Anambra State a new look, the Anambra State Government will go tough on those who deface the environment by having them imprisoned for two weeks plus a payment of ten thousand naira fine, reports Jude Atupulazi.
Addressing journalists at a maiden media briefing in his office, the state Commissioner for Environment, Arc Mike Okonkwo, also said the owed workers of the Anambra State Waste Management Agency, ASWAMA, would be paid soon in order to ensure a cleaner environment.
Fides understands that the current filthy environment noticed across the state is as a result of the downing of tools by ASWAMA workers owing to arrears of unpaid salaries.
But the Commissioner for Environment has promised to return the state to her former clean self as soon as possible, assuring that the workers would be paid, even s he blamed the non-payment on those processing their payment.
Noting that the state had been clean up to a week before now, he however acknowledged that there was a breach which led to the return of dirt, even as he hinted that changes would be made in the disposal of waste in the state.
He disclosed that he had personally done some intervention in the Ifite axis of Awka.
As part of the change in waste disposal, he said, the state would move from movement of waste to management of waste, meaning that waste would be turned to wealth in line with the vision of the state governor.
To this end, he said, those involved in waste management must have capacity financially and equipment wise as criteria for being chosen.
On the moves to sanitize the state of ramshackle structures, the commissioner the ongoing Operation no Street Trading in Anambra State, was addressing that, noting that his ministry had mapped out measures to sustain that.
He gave the measures as working in synergy with local councils, trade unions and security services in order to enlighten the public on the provisions of the Anambra State Law 2004, No. ANHA/Law/2004/08 and the government’s resolve to enforce the law.
He also said that the ministry would appoint reputable persons to be members of the task force which wuld be authorized with the duty of preventing the circumvention of the law prohibiting display of goods for sale or trading on road sides and in unauthorised structures, except in markets or designated locations.
He said the task force would also be saddled with the task of pulling down any structure or market stores located against specified markets or other designated locations.
The task force, according to Okonkwo, will arrest defaulters of the law and charge them to either the magistrate court or mobile court under the provisions of that law.
Assuring that the ministry would be accorded the political will and logistics to carry out its duties, he disclosed that an agency would soon be created to take care of parks, gardens and general beautification of the state.
To that end, he said, his ministry would just remain as Ministry of Environment, without any other name attached to it.