Deforestation now a serious crime in Anambra — Commissioner

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By Joy Mbachi

Awka, June 4, 2022 Mr Felix Odimegwu, Anambra Commissioner for Environment, has reiterated that activities like deforestation, felling of trees without replanting, bush burning and other environmental attack were now a serious offence in the state.

Odimegwu called on the residents to brace up to key behind the ministry, to tackle challenges of working hard by the people to maintain a safe, healthy and clean environment for all.

The commissioner made the call in Awka at a news conference to enumerate the ministry of environment Programme to handle environmental challenges in the state .

He disclosed that the ministry had a well thought out Programme in partnership with other government agencies related to environment on way forward to achieve a safe environment.

Odimegwu said the government had mapped out activities for 2022 World Environmental Day, on June 5, as priority on manifesto of Anambra Governor, Prof Charles Soludo.

The commissioner said that the governor tagged his ideal environment success as a fight to gain clean, greener, planned and sustainable cities, communities and markets that would transform Anambra to a smart state.

He said that some of the activities mapped out by the government included Tree planting which would be inaugurated by Soludo, public awareness symposium, radio commentaries.

“I call on people of Anambra to leverage on the opportunity offered by this year world environment day with a theme ” to raise a consciousness towards adopting safe environmental management practices and good sanitation and hygiene culture” that would promote the general well being of all of us as we do not have any other earth but “ only One Earth”, he said.

Mr Michael Ivenso, Chairman, Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) said the agency was aware of the environmental challenges being faced by Anambra people and disclosed that efforts were intensified daily to surmount them.

The project Coordinator said there were over 960 erosion sites in the state and much had been done to control the escalation and advised that people should take ownership of the environment timely.

He said that NEWMAP, with Anambra state erosion watershed and climate change agency, had developed an erosion control and environmental sustainability manual as a simple guide to community based erosion control and climate change.

He said with the urban renewal, grassroots empowerment, community leaders, President-Generals, traditional rulers, faith based organisations and civil societies had a better hope of safer environment.

“The sustainability manual would be broken down to the level for all to understand its applicability and adaptation would be easily achieved as the manual would be provided for the locals for acceptability of the Programme.

“ The environment does not need us , it is us that need the environment, therefore, we need to respect the manual and follow its details to the latter for the common good of us all,” he said.

Mr Chido Obidiegwu, Anambra Managing Director, Drainage and Forest Preservation, said government had made more efforts to sustain the programme on ground to ensure a safer environment for all.

Obidiegwu said that the government beggi for collective actions of the people towards sustenance of a safe environment, actions that would only protect and restore earth planet should be engaged always.

Mrs Ify Atorgu, Managing Director Leisure Parks and Beautification, urged the people to develop the habit of planting flowers and trees in the homes, to beautify the state and promote healthy environments.

Mr Peniel Jack, Anambra Coordinator of National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), said it was very important that the message of sensitisation of healthy environment be preached to locals, to give value to maintenance of the environment.

“People need to be thought the importance of not deforestation, bush burning, soil excavation , building on water ways and refuse dumps in water ways or on roads amongst other wrong sites,” he said.

Naija247news reports that many other bodies related to environment and its promotions like environmental health officers were part of the conference.