From Chris Ezufoh, Awka
Coming on the heels of the recent approval by the World Bank for its immediate intervention in four new and fresh erosion sites in the state, the Anambra state government has concluded plans to embark on a mass tree planting campaign involving no fewer than one million trees in its 177 communities within 50 days in its concerted effort to check the ravaging erosion menace all over the state.
The newly approved erosion sites include Enugwu-Ukwu, Obosi, Nkpor and Nnewi. Works, according to the state government would commence in the locations next month. These sites were in addition to the initial four sites where the Bank was already intervening, and that four other sites have again been earmarked for intervention by the International Body by September this year.
This was disclosed by the state Commissioner for Information and Communication Strategy, Omelora Tony Nnacheta at a press briefing in Awka, the state capital yesterday, being part of key decisions of the State Executive Council held on Tuesday at Government House.
Nnechata said that the State Executive Council at its weekly meeting, pointing out that the move become necessary following the administration’s commitment to checkmate further spread of the 950 erosion sites in the state.
According to him, “Anambra state has 950 active erosion sites. With this figure, the state can be called the erosion capital of the world.
“We want to elevate this problem in the consciousness of our people because from experts, nine percent of the erosion problem in the state is man-made. Our people should take the issue of environment seriously; otherwise in few years time we shall be in a more difficult situation than we are now.
For advancement of and enthronement of a cleaner safer environment in the state, the Commissioner disclosed that the Gov Willie Obiano administration has declared the 25th day of June, 2016 as a full scale environmental sanitation day in the state. He revealed that the government has already sent a bill to the State House of Assembly seeking legal backing on its environment related matters.
On that day, he stated, all markets in the state would remain closed till noon, while Gov Obiano and his executive council members would lead the clean up exercise round the state. He disclosed also that the governor, has set up a sanitation award for the cleanest community and local government area in the state. And that volunteers, market men/women, corporate bodies, banks, paramilitary and military formations could participate.
Whereas there would be monthly and yearly winners. The winners, the commissioner revealed would be determined by the state Ministry of Environment.
The state government spokesman added that the council also approved a N20million intervention projects in each of the 177 communities in the state before the end of the year.
Nnachetta also conveyed approval for the establishment of Medical Oxygen Gas Production Plant at the state-owned Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Awka to handle emergency needs.
He said the state exco meeting has approved the renovation and modernization of 63 health centres and three general hospitals in the state to international standards. Approval was also given to start a health insurance scheme for the citizens to kick off, latest September 2016.
Nnachetta stated that the executive council approved the building of a 5000 capacity international conference centre in Awka, to meet up with the development envisaged in the state in a few years’s time.
He pointed out that full activities would resume at the construction sites of the Awka and Nnewi Shopping malls as well as the hotels/resorts near Agulu Lake. And that efforts were on to make the state owned television-Anambra state Television broadcast go live, within the next 90 days.