PDP leader blames most of the pollution in Rivers State on the activities of oil exploration companies, security operatives
RIWAMA Urges NDDC To Renew Corporate Social Responsibility With Agency
…As Acting NDDC MD Commends Obuah For Making Port Harcourt, Rivers State Capital Cleaner
The Sole Administrator of the Rivers State Waste Management Agency (RIWAMA), Bro. Felix Obuah, has called on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to renew its social corporate responsibilities with RIWAMA which it abdicated since 2015 when the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) took over the reins of power in the State.
Bro. Obuah, who made the appeal when a delegation from the NDDC paid him a courtesy visit at the RIWAMA office in Port Harcourt, on Wednesday, accused the Commission of partisanship in the discharge of its corporate social responsibility.
The RIWAMA boss reminded the Acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Dr. Gbene Joi Nunieh who was represented by the Acting Executive Director (Projects), Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, that the NDDC used to be one of the very few institutions of government that has extended their support to RIWAMA before now, recalling that in 2007, the Agency took delivery of some 15 numbers, 3.5 ton Mazda Swaga C3500 refuse trucks from the NDDC.
According to Bro. Obuah, one of the trucks is still on the Agency’s equipment list, though classified as BER (beyond economic repairs), adding that this showed the existing cordiality between the NDDC and RIWAMA, hoping that the long existing relationship would be restored for the good of the environment.
“For over 10 years that NDDC has existed in this environment, you are all living and working in this environment and generating wastes, have you asked yourselves what contributions you give towards helping in keeping your immediate environment clean?”, he asked.
The RIWAMA Sole Administrator said a special commendation must go to Governor Nyesom Wike for his environmental friendly policies and programmes where he commits millions of Naira monthly to keep the State clean.
“I am happy that the Director of Projects of NDDC was able to recognize the good efforts of RIWAMA through His Excellency, Chief (Barr) Nyesom Ezenwo Wike”, he said, stressing that in 2015 when the Wike administration came on board, the entire State was ‘stinking’ and everywhere was littered with wastes”.
“The entirety of Port Harcourt was begging to be cleaned. There were no streets, lanes or roads in Port Harcourt and its environs that were passable. Everywhere was littered with all manner of wastes until Governor Wike moved into action and, thankfully, all that has become history as Port Harcourt is now one of the cleanest cities in Nigeria”, he noted.
Bro. Obuah told the visitors that RIWAMA has delivered on its mandate and would gladly assert that the State has attained over 80% cleanliness, thanks to the dogged support of Governor Nyesom Wike.
He also informed the NDDC team that Rivers is the only state in the country where government takes full responsibility of evacuating wastes without any person paying a dime.
Bro. Obuah further reminded his visitors that the cleanliness of the environment is a collective business of all, calling on the Commission to play a pivotal role in this regard by judiciously utilizing the monies meant for cleaning of the Niger Delta environment.
“If we look at the billions of Naira being allocated to the NDDC for the Niger Delta environment, for clearing of hyacinths, cleaning of our water ways, then the NDDC would be called to account”, he said, and praised President Mohammadu Buhari for instituting the forensic auditing of the Commission.
Bro. Obuah also blamed most of the pollution in the State on the activities of oil exploration companies as well as security operatives who destroy illegal oil bunkering equipments by setting them on fire. He said under such circumstances, Governor Wike is handicapped as he does not have direct control of the security agencies operating in the State.
“His Excellency has instituted a committee of experts to address the issue of soot and recommendations were made. He has spent millions of Naira to fight pollution in the State. He is a man who loves his people and wants them to stay healthy”, he declared and urged the NDDC to work cooperatively with RIWAMA to keep the State cleaner.
Some of the key functions of the Agency enumerated before the visiting NDDC team aside the carting away of wastes from roads and streets of Port Harcourt and its environs include: Road sweeping, cleaning and waste evacuation; vegetation control and grass cutting and refuse dumpsite operations.
Other functions are: Licensing of waste management operators; Removal of corpses and animal carcasses from the streets; educating the public on acceptable methods and practices of waste management and enforcement of compliance to waste management laws to mention but a few.
Bro. Obuah also listed the requirements needed to meet some teething challenges being faced by RIWAMA in the quest to meet its service delivery efforts.
They include: Tools for public enlightenment; operations of a Landfill Site; 2 landfill compactors and incinerators or autoclaves for hazardous and clinical wastes. He said the Agency also needs waste evacuation trucks, safety equipment and clothing for road sweepers as option for mechanized sweeping equipment would create more unemployment.
“We also need assistance for the development of integrated recycling process as a way of employment generation and empowerment of youths of the Niger Delta as well as training and sponsoring of our personnel to seminars and workshops for capacity development in modern waste handling methods”, Bro. Obuah said.
While urging the Acting Managing Director of NDDC, Dr. Gbene Joi Nunieh to come to the aid of the Agency as a way of sustaining the environmental situation of the State, Bro. Obuah assured that RIWAMA is ready to collaborate with NDDC towards meeting these needs for the general good people of Rivers State.
Earlier in his speech, the Acting Executive Director (Projects) of NDDC, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh said they were at RIWAMA to appreciate the efforts of the Sole Administrator, Bro. Felix Obuah in keeping the State clean.
“We have read so much and heard so much of your antecedents. The innovations you have brought have made the difference and you have truly made Port Harcourt and its environs cleaner than we met it”, he said and urged Bro. Obuah to keep up the tempo.
While assuring the Sole Administrator of NDDC’s collaboration with the Agency, Dr. Ojougboh said there was still need for improvement, noting that pollution was inimical to the health of the people.
“If the environment is continually polluted, then the life expectancy of people of Niger Delta would continue to diminish”, he said, stressing that the sources of pollution must be uncovered and nipped in the bud to save aquatic lives and activities.