Two Staff of Monier Construction Company (MCC) were among seven persons arrigned in the Chief Magistrate Court Rumuodomawya, Tuesday for allegedly defaulting the Rivers State Government law on Environmental sanitation.
The accussed were alleged to have been caught by officials of the Environment Sanitation Authority in conjunction with staff of the Rivers State Ministry of Environment while they were disposing refuse at authorized dump sites but outside the official garbage disposal period of 6 pm and 12 midnight.
The two staff of MCC who pleaded not guilty were however granted bail with the sum of N100,000 and one surety.
They said they were not disposing refuse at the site but rather were helping in evacusting refuse as directed them by their company.
While the two MCC Staff, Gibson Isaac and Eneberi Naka were bailed, the other five persons were remanded in custoday by order of the presiding magistrate till 15th October being the day of Environmental Sanitation Court.
Addressing journalists in his office, the Rivers State Commissioner for Environment, Barrister Kingsley Chinda said the ministry has designed more strategies to arrest and prosecute offenders of sanitation law in the state.
He express dismay that inspite of the awareness campaigns, people were still in the habit of contravening the law and reiterated that the present administration was determined towards changing the free for all attitude of some persons in the state as regards public health.
The commissioner appealed to members of the public to co-operate wit the government toward arresting offenders of sanitation law especially within Port Harcourt and its environs stressing that since clean environment is for the good health of all, it would be foolhardy to expect only the government to pursue the course alone.
Meanwhile the ministry sealed another super market in Port Harcourt J and J super market, for displaying expired food items for the purchase and consumption of memers of the public.
Chairman, Committee for Environmental Health and Saintation in the ministry, Mr Ewule Napoleon displayed before the Honourable Commissioner for Environment, Barrister Kingsley Chinda and members of Press, 43 items of expired food items from J and J supermarket and explained that the items were inimical to the health of consumers.
Directors of the super market, John and Joseph apologized to people of the state for their negligence and pleaded for forgiveness. Barrister Chinda who granted they plea, warned that should the full weight of the law would be brought to bear on the sup market and directed the committee to unseal the place.
Barrister advised members of the public to be careful over what items they by form the super markets and other sales points.
He said experience has shown that good number of items in the market are expired and inimical to the health.
PH Lawyer Drags FG To Court Over Soot Epidemic, Demands N500m Damages
A lawyer, Okparaolu Chioma Chris, has sued the Federal Government over the black soot epidemic in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, and its devastating effects on the health and wellbeing of residents of the state.
Chris, in a suit filed at the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, is asking the court to compel the Federal Government to pay N500million as damages for gross violation of the applicant’s fundamental human rights.
The suit also wants the court to mandate the government to take “bold and reasonable steps to stop or minimise to the barest minimum the emission of black soot in Rivers State and to begin the process of cleaning the air space and environment of the state”.
Available document revealed that the applicant is praying the court for the following reliefs; “A declaration that the applicant and indeed other indigenes of Rivers State, Nigerians and all human beings living and resident in Port Harcourt and in Rivers State and its environs are entitled to the best attainable state of physical and mental health and a general satisfactory environment favourable to their development as guaranteed by Articles 16 and 24 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ratification and enforcement) Act laws of the federation of Nigeria 2004.
“A declaration that the act of the respondent in neglecting several pleas and petitions from the Government of Rivers State and her citizens, to urgently intervene, stop and remedy the hazardous atmospheric condition of Port Harcourt and other neighbouring areas and local governments of the state affected by the dangerous airborne particulate commonly known as black soot amounts to a gross violation of the applicant’s right and indeed that of other indigenes of the State, Nigerians and all human beings living and resident in Port Harcourt and its environs to enjoy physical and mental health.
“An order of this honourable court mandating to pay to the applicant, the sum of N500million only as damages for gross violation of the applicant’s fundamental human rights as guaranteed under Articles 16 and 24 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ratification and enforcement) Act laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004.
“An order of this honourable court directing the respondent to immediately take bold and reasonable steps to stop or minimise to the barest minimum the emission of black soot in Rivers State and to begin the process of cleaning the air space and environment of Rivers State. And for such order to orders that this honourable court may deem fit to make in the circumstances of this case.”
In the affidavit in support of the application, the applicant explained that, “sometime in the month of April 2016, many Nigerians including myself living in Port Harcourt began noticing the presence of an airborne particulate now commonly called “black soot” within the city of Port Harcourt and its environs.
“Black soot then was visible on white clothes spread outside and on the body of cars parked outside and it even increasingly began to affect the paint especially white colour used in the painting of houses in Port Harcourt.
“When the emission of the black spot continued unabated, and began to be seen in peoples’ living homes and that of myself, I and other residents of Port Harcourt began raising the alarm to both the government of Rivers State and the respondents on the dangerous effects of black soot.
“It has been widely reported that top government functionaries, politicians and general persons of influence have started using the M95 nose mask that filters the air. This mask is very expensive and it is far from my reach and those of ordinary Rivers people and Nigerians living and doing business in Rivers State.”
Obuah Gives Reasons For Wastes In PH
The Sole Administrator, Rivers State Waste Management Agency, RIWAMA, Bro. Felix Obuah, has attributed the presence of wastes in some parts of Port Harcourt, the State Capital and its environs from Friday, January 14, 2022, to challenges the agency has with its dumpsites.
Bro. Obuah shortly after an official visit to the affected dumpsites, revealed that the agency’s dumpsites have been closed down, but that efforts are being made to acquire new dumpsites, so as to commence full evacuation of wastes in Port Harcourt, and its environs, within 48 hours.
In a statement made available by his media aid, Jerry Needam, the RIWAMA boss explained that evacuation of wastes will be delayed due to the permanent closure of the agency’s major dumpsites
Bro. Obuah appealed to residents in Port Harcourt and its environs, especially from the affected areas where wastes would be noticed, to bear with the agency as everything humanly possible is being done to ensure that new dumpsites are acquired and put back to use without delay, and evacuation of wastes would commence in earnest.
The RIWAMA Sole Administrator further called on residents in the affected areas to observe sanitary decorum and not to take undue advantage of the situation to dump their wastes indiscriminately.
While expressing thanks to them for their understanding, Bro. Obuah assured that the agency would not relent in its effort to ensure that the State is kept clean at all times.
He reminded residents and those doing business in the State that dumping of wastes on the median of the road, remains prohibited, warning that anyone caught dumping wastes on the median and outside government approved hours of 6pm to 12midnight, would be arrested and prosecuted.
NUJ Rivers Council Election Holds, ’Morrow
The rescheduled 7th Triennial Conference of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Rivers State Council, originally announced by the state council’s credentials committee, to hold Thursday, January 13, now holds tomorrow, Tuesday, January 18, 2022.
It was gathered that the conference which was expected to elect officers to pilot the affairs of the council for the next three years, could not hold last Thursday due to some unresolved issues on the voters list.
However, with the resolution reached on the list of voters in the state’s council election, by stake holders/leades in the council, the national secretariat has approved Tuesday, January 18, 2022, as the date for the conduct of election in the council.
The national secretariat thus, noted some observations concerning membership status of some persons in six chapels. It enjoined members whose names were affected to go to the election ground with their valid NUJ membership ID cards as well as ID cards of their respective work places.
A statement jointly signed by the chairman of the credentials committee, Victor Tew and secretary, Comrade Ogboka Chris Umeda said the conference will hold at the Ernest Ikoli Press Centre, Moscow Road, Port Harcourt at 9am prompt.
The statement advised delegates to arrive the venue of the conference promptly for accreditation.
The statement further advised delegates to conduct themselves orderly as all the necessary machineries have been put in place to ensure a free, fair, credible and orderly poll.
The Credentials Committee warns that it will not condone any disorderly behaviour from any quarters.
It advised all those who have no business with the conference to steer clear of the venue to avoid unpleasant consequences.
By: Sylvia ThankGod-Amadi
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