Foundation for Environmental Rights Advocacy and Development, FENRAD, an environmental and pro-democracy rights advocacy group has decried the state of environmental decline and degradation in Abia, especially in Aba which is deteriorating under the watch of Chief Roland Nwakamma, Deputy Director, Abia State Environmental Protection Agency, ASEPA Aba Zone as the Foundation demands an urgent recovery of the Enyimba City.
As an environmental rights group, FENRAD is concerned that the environmental regime under Roland Nwakamma has recently gotten only worse whether in rainy or dry season. According to a recent citywide assessment made in Aba by the group, many major roads in Aba now host refuse and have become dumping sites. Port Harcourt Road leads the pack in this ugly situation with places like the famous Crystal Park Hotel, National High School Aba nearly inaccessible, even on foot. Ngwa Road by Mosque; Aba-Owerri Road along Union Bank Junction and Immaculate Heart Avenue Aba; Azikiwe Road by Asa;
Obohia and many other strategic Roads – to name just a few – in the city now have in them dirts and rubbish heaps in reeking state of putrefaction. The rights group condemned this given that infectious diseases spread quickly even as pathogens and microbes thrive in an unhygienic environment especially in this era of pandemic and other epidemics like cholera. FENRAD also calls on the Ministry of Environment to, as a matter of urgency, up its game in ensuring that environmental inspection, tips and awareness are carried out in Aba and its environs to remedy the situation and also serve as a robust environmental action. Budgetary numbers assigned to it must count.
Again, FENRAD calls on Roland Nwakamma to take action towards mitigating environmental abuse and disaster in the city of Aba. It is pertinent to note that while it could be said that Aba residents need a reorientation that provides the right presence of mind and attitudinal change towards the environment, such is not happening in the city nor in the state where the governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, Ph.D, rode to office on the basis of his outstanding achievements as head of environmental protection agency.
FENRAD worries that contrary to the cliche “cleanliness is next to godliness,” Abia, known as “God’s Own State,” is losing (if it has not lost entirely) any godliness that cleanliness affords. God’s own state cannot exist under this form of decay, the Foundation further laments.
At this rate, FENRAD says, investors, holidaymakers, tourists and all manner of visitors to the state may have a rethink and shelve visiting, not to talk of planting any enterprise in therein.
Having said this, FENRAD calls on Aba residents to follow the path of environmental discipline because the environment itself is a common good that affects not only the state or nation but the entire universe. Marketplaces, like Azikiwe/Asa where Shopping Centre is located, are usually untidy during and after market hours with detritus and dirts as gutters there brim with plastics and other nonbiodegradable waste. Same goes for Ariaria, Ahiaohuru and Cemetery markets. While the market unions are partly to blame, FENRAD could not establish any record of interface between the unions and the Agency. This is condemnable as Aba and Abia are becoming object of ridicule among other cities and states.
The Foundation regrets that receptacles and collectors are filled with domestic waste for days without any ASEPA worker on hand to convey same to where they could be treated or burnt. When they manage to come, some of their waste trucks still litter the streets from collection to tipping points. Aba is now recording the worst environmental regime if something is not done to salvage this. On the industrial waste sector, many factories today channel bad and wastewater or industrial effluent into rivers destroying aquatic lives and denying locals access to water whose actions are not being challenged.
Finally, the Foundation calls on Roland Nwakamma to sit up as his task is demanding or honourably step aside if he cannot handle this task as Aba people are paying sanitation fees without any value for same.
Comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor
Barr. Akande Femisi
Head Corporate Accountability and Human Rights Enforcement