Green Movement - Newsreel

 

WIEF Congratulates Governor Peter Obi

 

Gov. Peter Obi (center) Poses with WIEF Leadership in Awka

The World Igbo Environmental Foundation (WIEF), a nongovernmental outfit dedicated to reversal of widespread degradation, pollution and decay in Southeast Nigeria and contiguous Niger Delta territory, congratulates Governor Peter Obi on his reelection for another four-year tenure at conclusion of the Feb 6, 2010 polls. Mr. Obi was declared the winner in a field of candidates sponsored by 25 political parties doing business in Anambra state. This is the first time that an incumbent governor has achieved tenure extension in Anambra state, through the ballot box, since its creation almost 20 years ago.

Anambra state, with its population of more than four million, has the most complex environmental problem in Nigeria. There are, at least 1000 active erosion gullies in the state, for example. There is also widespread topsoil erosion caused by uncontrolled storm-water discharge emanating from homesteads, farmlands, open public places and woodlands across the state. Major urban centers in Anambra state, which consist of Onitsha, Awka and Nnewi, are particularly afflicted by deleterious consequences of storm-water erosion compounded by flooding of residential and commercial districts, especially during the rainy season. The river-port town of Onitsha, with a population of more than 1.5 million inhabitants, has humongous solid and liquid waste management problems. This commercial city lacks centralized sewerage system and functional solid-waste disposal facilities. Undisposed trash/garbage clog natural drainage corridors in the city thereby further complicating the scourge of topsoil erosion and flooding in many neighborhoods. 

                                                                                                        

 

 

Obi administration had prepared a policy document on erosion and flood control throughout Anambra state. On August 20, 2007, Gov. Obi publicly presented the draft document when he inaugurated WIEF Nigeria at the Women's Civic Center, Awka. He requested that WIEF experts should collaborate with staff of the state Ministry of Environment in vetting the draft document so as to prep its content for immediate implementation.

WIEF engineering team on the ground worked closely with Directors in the Ministry as requested and completed the task within a few weeks. The vetted document was promptly returned to the Commissioner in presence of the mass media. Many agree that enforcing the essence of this policy document can arrest and reverse many negative consequences of uncontrolled storm water erosion and flooding in Anambra state.

 

 

Gov. Peter Obi presents draft policy document

In principle, Gov. Obi clearly articulates and communicates the understanding as well as appreciation of the enormity of environmental challenges facing Anambra state. In his keynote speech at WIEF inaugural seminar/workshop, he pledged his personal commitment to a speedy and sustainable stratagem for reining in the double-barrel menace of widespread erosion and flooding which are retarding the socioeconomic advancement of the state. He emphasized his administration's determination to halt indiscriminate denudation of the state's forest resources which are key to arresting both topsoil and gully erosion. He charged the capacity audience at the event to support his administration's ambition to eliminate the scourges of erosion and flooding in Anambra by bringing to his attention, if needs be, any creative ideas to ensure that his proposed plans for better environmental husbandry for the state are actualized as quickly as humanly possible.

Gov. Obi holding up WIEF posters for the audience

 

 

 

 

 

An elated Governor Obi hoists WIEF Vanguard's poster for the capacity audience to see shortly after he formally launched WIEF Nigeria in Awka on August 20, 2007. The poster is aimed at mobilizing the youths to actively partake in environmentally friendly activities.

The governor enjoined the audience to emulate positive initiatives of WIEF and its many youthful supporters in order to assist the government's efforts at providing a clean, safe and healthy shared living space for everyone in Anambra state.

 

 

 

The Obi administration sought and engaged a United Nation's subsidiary, UN HABITAT, to design a structure plan for the three major urban centers of Anambra state: Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi. Decision to commission this study was informed by the fact that absence of urban planning has contributed immensely in evolution of the environmental nightmare faced daily by residents of these fast-growing cities. The UN HABITAT has since completed its assigned task and submitted its report to the Obi administration. The next phase is to conduct an in-house review of the report's recommendations with an aim of ascertaining the best practical means to commence the implementation phase. It is anticipated that Gov. Obi's second tenure shall be used to revisit the UN HABITAT report (http://www.wief.net/cityplans_anambra.pdf) and to begin the process of mobilizing the instruments of government and civil society for its systematic review as well as implementation of its contents.

 

 

 

 

An engineering firm was engaged to open up the clogged Otumoye/Nwangene Creek by the Obi administration in order to control perennial flooding in eastern Fegge and the nearby Bridgehead Housing Estate.

This "dredged" channel shown in the picture has since been blocked by expanding solid waste dumps as well as many illegally constructed structures in its path.

 

 

 

 

 

The "dredged" waterway is at base of solid waste dumps between Ochanja and Silasworks

The very good working relationship which WIEF had developed with Obi administration gradually soured over time due to apparent disinterest exhibited by the state government in ensuring proper official oversight on key public projects aimed at environmental remediation at Umuchiana Ekwulobia and Otumoye/Nwangene Creek, Onitsha. In keeping with its mission, WIEF had monitored these two projects from their very beginning and made periodic reports which ought to have alerted the Obi administration that all was not well with how work was proceeding at these locations. No visible moves were made to look into the alarms being raised by the WIEF team on the ground until things got really bad at these two project sites.

 

WIEF is aware of the limited financial resources available to the state government for commitment to the huge challenge of coping with the daunting task of remedying complex environmental problems in Anambra. It is because of this that extra effort has been made to identify potential loopholes in the planning, design and implementation of the projects in Onitsha and Ekwulobia early enough so as to avert inevitable structural failures and associated waste of our scarce resources. WIEF was particularly saddened when there were catastrophic structural failures at the Umuchiana Ekwulobia concrete drainage channels which were constructed on the same very unstable foundation about which multiple alarms have been raised earlier. Similarly, the immediate blockage of the "dredged" Otumoye/Nwangene Creek channel, soon after the contractor departed the site, was perceived by WIEF as an unnecessary waste of scarce public funds. Alternative ideas proffered by WIEF experts would have resulted in more effective and sustainable solutions to the problems at these two locations at only a fraction of funds already committed to the projects thus far.

 

 

 

 

 

The Obi administration has also deployed ample sums of public funds at the Umuchiana Ekwulobia gully erosion site. The intent was to halt the rapid advance of this finger of gully complex that severed a federal highway in September 2006.

Difficulties encountered in getting this task accomplished are not a surprise because improper approach was decided upon from the very beginning.

 

 

Ichies from Umuchiana complaining to visiting WIEF team and pressmen

 

WIEF's desire is to always maintain a good working relationship with the government of the day throughout ground zero, but our primary commitment is to the general public, particularly the local population affected by tragic consequences of poor environmental husbandry and official neglect. The foundation is keenly aware of the fact that governments come and go, but the populace and its many existential needs always remain. The attention of Obi administration was also called to the new erosion gullies created by an Anambra government road-building contractor, RCC, at its abandoned former camp site at Uke junction in Idemili North LGA, but something is yet to be done to arrest the deteriorating situation at that location. WIEF believes that this negligent act by RCC, which is paid with taxpayers' money, is a willful desecration of the ancestral land of Ndi Uke, in particular and an affront to sensibilities of Ndi Anambra, in general.

 

WIEF supposes that competing priorities could have preempted the attention of the Obi administration in the past few years to the extent that inadequate oversight was devoted to the planning, design and implementation of key public work projects on environmental remediation and management in the state. Elsewhere worldwide, environmental management is usually handled by local government authorities under the guidelines established by the state in question. Having properly empowered local councils are, therefore, indispensable in judicious management of the environment.

 

What has been overlooked, thus far, is the use of investments made by government in environmental management and remediation projects to create many jobs within communities and jurisdictions where problems exist. WIEF is confident that a significant dent can be made in current high youth unemployment in Anambra state and elsewhere at ground zero if local communities and local councils are given greater roles in implementation of major environmental management and remediation projects in their respective jurisdictions as a matter of state policy.

 

 

WIEF's vision, mission and operational agenda have been well received at all levels of society throughout its target area. Well meaning individuals and groups have stepped forward to contribute their time and money to sponsor the foundation's ongoing soil erosion studies in their hometown communities in both Anambra and Imo states as a first step toward deriving and implementing appropriate solutions in collaboration with local stakeholders. The foundation's ultimate goal is to provide a unifying platform for articulating practical and effective game plans for immediate arrest and reversal of the rapid rate of decay and degradation that have become the scourge of all inhabitants of ground zero. WIEF is all about bringing everyone together for a common cause, irrespective of one's sex, age, religious preferences, partisan political affiliation, LGA or hometown of origin, social status, educational qualification, wealth etc.

 

WIEF is very desirous to reestablish productive relationship with the Obi administration in order to hasten the pace of planning, designing and mass enlightenment/mobilization required to make future investments in environmental husbandry in Anambra state to be more effective and sustainable.

 

 

   Operation Green Parrot homepage

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Home

 

 

 
Copyright 2006 World Igbo Environmental Foundation, Inc.
Designed by Nextdaysite.com