One of the things the out-going Rochas Okorocha Government can do for Imo indigenes before leaving office in a few months time is to clean up Owerri. Owerri the state capital has never been as dirty as it is at the moment. This, obviously is as a result of many years of neglect of basic sanitation needs and a truncated urban planning and re-planning.
Imolites have long desired a cleaner Owerri and cleaner environment. But every day they see the opposite. They are confronted with dirt and filth almost all over, not just along Douglas Road and the main markets, but practically at every round about in Owerri, which have been converted to market squares and motor parks, under the government’s watch.
People are sighing and shaking their heads over the poor sanitary condition in Owerri which was formerly voted the cleanest capital in Nigeria.
Things are bad and getting worse. We are not talking about the spiralling poverty, jobless or insecurity. A lot has been written about on this. What is worrying right now is the absence of proper refuse disposal system in Owerri, the indiscriminate dumping of refuse, littering, filthy gutters, heaps of garbage on streets as well as the multiplication of roadside mini markets, all contributing to the garbage pile up.
One of the places where the ugly situation is most visible is the control post, which is incidentally the face of Imo state, the entrance to the city. The Assumpta Cathedral, the beautiful edifice that welcomes visitors to Owerri is once again under threat, but this time from filthy gutters, noisy Motor Park, mammy markets and prostitution rings. At night, the whole place looks like a shanty town, a ghetto.
Coming into Owerri from the control post at any time, these days, is a challenge due to the myriad of illegal activities taking place there. We are not talking about the perpetually dilapidated road versus the amount of trucks and tankers and traffic that make passing through a nightmare. How can anyone understand the fact that people are not only urinating in the open there but also defecating around the Cathedral fence? Even the Holy family statute that lends dignity and creativity to the area has also become a public latrine for some disrespectful persons.
The absence of public toilets in public places is regrettable. When will Government see these things as its responsibility? When will proper refuse disposal be instituted in Imo State and our streets rid of stinking garbage?
Now that the rainy season is over, what is stopping the cleaning of gutters and clearing of garbage from the roads? What more reasons can Government give for not cleaning up the gutters? The stench of garbage is everywhere and since our markets are located near them, commonsense requires that we do the right thing to reduce the burden of health problems on our shoulders.