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Onogba charges residents on cleaner environment

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By Nosa Akenzua

Delta state commissioner for environment, Mr Chris Onogba, has appealed to Delta residents and citizens to partner with the state government for a cleaner, healthier and safer environment.

Onogba made the appeal when he fielded questions from journalists on varied environmental issues on Tuesday in his office in Asaba.

According to the environment commissioner, “when it comes to the issue of the environment, everybody is a stakeholder, there is no class or bias in it, Deltans should partner with the government so that we can have a cleaner environment.”

He revealed that the state government was looking at, and monitoring the issuance of license to gas plant operators in the state, and that if there were any sharp practices, government would not hesitate to prosecute anybody found wanting.

The commissioner said that the state government was working with the executive of the gas provider association to ensure that genuine people go into the business of providing gas and not quacks who end up killing people.

 “We want to ensure that we do our business with the best standard practice, so that we do not endanger the lives of people,” he said.

He warned that Deltans and residents should stop using the drains as dumpsite adding that defaulters would no longer be tolerated.

“Let us stop using every available space as dumpsites. There are designated areas for dumping of refuse. Let us stop the habit of dumping our refuse indiscriminately.

“This will no longer be tolerated by the state government and we will do everything to enforce the law and anybody found wanting in that regard will be prosecuted in accordance with the environmental laws,” he stressed.

The commissioner also appealed to Deltans and residents to cooperate with the government to obey the safety protocols of always wearing masks, regulars hand washing, the use of alcohol base hand sanitizer and physical distancing to prevent the spread of the COCID-19 pandemic.

 He said that the observance of the safety protocols by residents would help by over 50% to reduced the spread of the virus, saying, “What we have now is community spread, spreading it among ourselves.”

He said that many people erroneously believed that COVID-19 was not real or none existence, and expressed worry that such position was making it difficult for them to adhere to the safety measures.

“Others section of the society believe that COVID-19 is an exclusive sickness for the VIPs, that is a very erroneous believe. COVID-19 does not have bias for class, it can kill anybody,

“If we show strong positive attitude towards the protocol, we will be able to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Government is also doing everything possible to enforce this new normal of covering our nose,” Mr Onogba said.

He said that the state government taskforce would soon be on the street to enforce the wearing face mask and other safety measures to curb the spread of the virus.

“You cannot use your own poor altitude to endanger the lives of your neighbours,” the commissioner cautioned.

The environment commissioner, who said that the Ministry of Health recently announced an outbreak of cholera in some local governments in the state leading to the death of some people, admonished Deltans against the practice of open defecation.

“This is as a result of the poor hygiene habit of the practice of open defecation. Nigeria is almost becoming the height of open defecation; this is not in the interest of Deltans or the interest of Nigerians.

“We should not see every space as a place to defecate whereby when it rains the feces are washed into the rivers and streams which are sources of drinking water for the communities around the round.

“If we continue to practice open defecation, we will be endangering the lives of people. We must stop open defecation. Government frowns at it. It is a poor attitude we have towards the environment,” he added.

He revealed that the state government would soon set up a committee that would go round communities where open defaecation were still prevalent, to ensure that every household had toilet.

He stated that government had committed huge resources into making the environment clean but said that there was little to show for the effort, calling on residents to take ownership of cleanliness of their environment.

“If people do not take ownership of their environment, it makes it better. We can make the environment work us if all stakeholders would work together,” he stated.

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