Borno state government had conducted the last monthly environmental sanitation exercise for 2021 on Saturday day December 4, 2021.
The state Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Kaka Shehu Lawan, said the exercise which was revived in 2021 after decades of neglect had been a huge success even as he said there are still challenges yet summited.
Governor Zulum had in 2021 rekindled the culture of periodic general cleaning of the environment within Maiduguri on the first Saturday of every month.
Speaking to journalists at the end of this year’s last sanitation day, Barrister Lawan said though the monthly exercise had impacted the public hygiene within the metropolis, “there are still challenges of compliance in some of the neighbourhoods.
The attorney general said the environmental sanitation exercise is not restricted to cleaning the surroundings alone but also extended to food sanitary inspection and other environmental pollution.
During the monitoring exercise at Bulunkutu axis operators of a local bread factory operating in an isolated compound littered with dirt was caught working during the restricted hours, while some group of young men who specialise in hawking boiled cocoyams were caught cooking their ware in rusted drums using garbage and dirty plastics from dumps as a source of energy.
At Gwange a dealer of scrap vehicle metals was caught loading a truck with his wares in flagrant disregard of the sanitation curfew.
At Abbaganaram, a major baker of bean cake (kosai) was caught red-handed frying her delicacy and had pleaded with apparent lies that she depended on the business to feed her children.
At Lamisula a Keke Napep rider was given a hot chase until he was caught for being disobedient during the sanitation day.
Barrister Kaka Shehu’s convoy had to drive into the Ramat Square civic centre to chase away youth playing football in the early hours of sanitation, day.
These mentioned incidents were just isolated cases compared with the decree of complaince.
The Commission who practically participated in sweeping with women near Gwange cemetery had to at some point give cash gifts to a group of women and young people at Gwange and M Monday market for sweeping clean their environment.
Students of Ramat polytechnic and Government colleges along the route leading to the police headquarters had also been impressed with their maa turn out and participation in keeping their environment clean.
“If we do not stand form to stop all these, we may not find a solution to the rising cases of renal disease in the society,” the attorney general who oversees the military of environment said.
“That is why the environmental sanitation is not only an exercise to ensure that our surroundings are clean but we are also extending the horizons to areas where dead animals are being sold to the public, where unhygienic items are criminally packaged and sold to the public.
“So we want full cooperation from the members of the general public to give us credible information of locations where such harmful practices are carried out so that we can all together salvage our health.
He said the level of compliance during most of the exercises was commendable even though some locations of Maiduguri are still involved in “dangerous and harmful practices”.
“In today’s exercise, we have seen school children and students coming out to participate fully, we have seen voluntary organizations coming out to add colour. We are so happy that awareness has been created.
“Like in today’s exercise, we saw people out there in Gwange who did not participate in the exercise but rather engaged in their business during the enforced hours of sanitation.
“We had to go to Gwange where we were able to enforce some sanitation laws especially by sealing some outfits like scrap metal dealers shop and we will not open them until they are replicated out of the residential areas.
He however lamented that despite the efforts, some junior personnel of the Borno state environmental sanitation agency (BOSEPA) who are the main drivers of the sanitation programme, did not show up at their designated duty posts.
“That is not acceptable, anybody that is not willing to work should give way so that others who badly need the job should have the chance to work so that the society can feel the impact of what the government is doing.
“This exercise is not for government alone; the governor has created an enabling environment and all the resources for us to work by giving all that is required for sanitation. All that is required from us is to join hands in this effort and clean our environment so that we can all be free from diseases.”
He had however commended all the staff of the BOSEPA, the Borno environmental vanguards, the security agencies and the media for working assiduously to ensure that the Borno environment is clean throughout 2021, even as he looked forward to a better 2022 exercise.
Though the monthly environmental sanitation exercise reintroduced by Governor Zulum had rekindled the spirit of hygiene amongst citizens, it is also a validation of the fact that the issue of hygiene is still a big challenge. The Borno state government has for a long time established State Environmental Protection Agency (BOSEPA) whose sole business is to keep Maiduguri clean. But the agency seemed to be overwhelmed by the volume of hygiene-related abuse going on in the state; hence their effort appear like a drop of water in the sea.
Maiduguri, a burgeoning city of about 3 million people requires a more deliberate policy beyond monthly cleaning of streets to keep it cleaner. It requires two sanitation dayss in a month and a man of action and uncommon commitment, like the attorney general.