By Chukwudi Ikpe
Imo State Governor, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, has suspended, with immediate effect, all dredging activities on Nworie River and around the confluence of Nworie/Otamiri rivers in a bid to protect the environment.
He made the pronouncement in his speech at the 2019 World Environment Day celebration in Owerri penultimate Wednesday and stated that the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources shall resume its regular duty of regulating mining activities in the state.
The governor, who noted that forest reserves still exist in Ohaji Egbema, Okigwe, Mgbidi and Orlu also pronounced that his government shall take steps to recover and preserve all state forest reserves that have been devastated by past political actors to their intended and original purposes.
He promised that Botanical and Zoological Gardens in the state shall be upgraded to Department of wildlife and Natural Reserves in line with conventional national practices, to further enhance the conservation of our wildlife and natural resources.
“We shall take appropriate steps to preserved and upgrade the Nekede Zoological Garden. Our administration is determined to return Imo State to its glory as the cleanest and most environment friendly state in Nigeria. This is in line with making Imo State the preferred tourist destination in Nigeria,” the governor stated.
Ihedioha charged all agencies responsible for waste management to be active to their responsibilities.
Governor Ihedioha promised that his administration shall undertake aggressive erosion control measures and pronounced that all ministries, departments and agencies saddled with requisite duties and responsibilities shall henceforth initiate damage control measures on roads and communities threatened by gully erosion and irresponsible excavations.
He pronounced that all encroachments into protected Water lands and Green Belt Areas shall be recovered and restored in accordance with relevant laws protecting such facilities.
The governor, who was sworn in last week, promised that his administration shall embark on an aggressive waste-to-wealth programme.
He called on Imo people to embark on tree planting and to preserve the forest, stressing that ‘what we do or fail to do with regard to our environment today, will favourably or adversely affect our future.
June 5, every year, is set aside by the United Nations as World Environment Day. The theme of this year’s celebration was “Air Pollution.