From Joe Effiong, Uyo
The Government of Akwa Ibom State has attributed its status as the ‘Cleanest State in Nigeria’ for three consecutive years to the innovative models and initiatives factored in waste management and environmental protection in the past three years.
The state expressed its determination and commitment to tackle all challenges of environmental cleanliness in the state in order to still maintain that position of the cleanest state in the country for many years to come.
The Chairman, Board of Akwa Ibom State Environmental Protection and Waste Management Agency, (AKSEPWMA), Mr Akpan Ikim, who stated this on Monday while briefing the press on the achievements of the Agency as part of the activities marking the 3rd anniversary of the present board,
noted that the “Greater Akwa Ibom Clean-up Campaign”, flagged off on Saturday, October 10, 2020, was among the programmes conceived in sync with global best practices that helped the state achieve and sustain its status as the cleanest state.”
He explained that the purpose was to significantly complement government’s unflinching effort towards the regeneration of the environment and raise awareness on the proper disposal of waste and sundry environmental related matters.
‘It was also billed to accentuate the role of citizens as key players in the business of environmental cleanliness and management. Residents needed to know that the job of protecting the environment and keeping it clean is not just the governments but everyone’s. And we as an agency we are duty-bound to enlighten, educate before enforcing.
‘The campaign hinted more on the prohibition of littering the streets, indiscriminate disposal of waste in gutters by residents, defecating in unauthorised flanks, trading at unauthorised areas as well as sensitisation on residents engagement in personal hygiene and general cleanliness.’
The AKSEPWMA Board Chairman stressed that on assumption of office in 2018 his administration’s first duty was to create a new road map to stand and hiring equipment to work, given the inherited blind blueprint and the dearth of working tools respectively.
‘We flagged off programmes that were in sync with global best practices in September 2018. By December that year, Akwa Ibom State emerged the Cleanest State in the country.
‘In 2019, the Agency had not only increased her public image from 56 per cent to 45 per cent, but emerged the Cleanest State in Nigeria.
‘The Agency has sustained the tempo of performance and intensified efforts on public awareness of it’s activities, public awareness/ sensitisation leads at 51 per cent from 2 per cent; street cleaning/vegetation control moved to 53 per cent, and desilting of gutters at 58 per cent.
‘The prosecution of environmental defaulters stood up to1427 cases. Intervention on emergency case, on waste clearance stood at 68 per cent from 7 pe rcent, staff morale heightened to 63 per cent from 5 per cent, etc.
‘The performance index of the Agency, according to study carried out by Telsrad Projects revealed a 85 per cent performance input by the present day AKSEPWMA as compared to the preceding times before Governor Udom Emmanuel. Before we assumed office in 2018, the image of the Agency or public perception stood at a fledgling, 5 per cent.
‘This meant that people hardly could know that an agency as such existed; let alone her ideals and programmes. Before we took over, the Agency met a monthly Environmental Sanitation exercise participation by the citizenry at 10 per cent. That clearly meant it was as good as nothing. Staff welfare was 5 per cent, Revenue generation was 2 per cent.
‘Also stake-holders participation was about 7 per cent, street cleaning and vegetation control was about 5 per cent, dump site management was handed over at 12 per cent, refuse littered the streets with scanty attention to it; Street trading and hawking had uncontrollably skyrocketed. Sanitation court for the enforcement was not working, and waste generation statistics was not available. It was a blind field of work.’
Ikim, thanking God for the achievements and Governor Udom Emmanuel for giving them the opportunity and necessary support to serve the state, listed projects and initiatives for the coming year to include the institution of Special Sanitation Corps, Market Sanitation Corps, Clean-Up Club in schools, Community Sanitation Corps and AKSEPWMA Enforcement Unit.
He also unveiled the first corporate logo of the Agency as part of the rebranding initiative as well as the inspection of the ten(10) Waste management trucks donated to the recently by Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to the Agency as a reward for state emerging the cleanest in the country.