Residents of Obajana, the host community of Dangote Cement Company in Lokoja local government area of Kogi State, have been told to embrace the attitude of maintaining proper hygiene and planning in every aspect of their lives.
The state commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Usman Yahaya made the appeal while declaring open the Public Enlightenment Programme on Sanitation and Planning in an industrial area, organized by the Kogi Built Environment and Building Materials (BEBM) Exhibition, a Non Governmental Organization (NGO), in partnership with Ministry and Dangote Cement Factory, held at Obajana, yesterday.
The commissioner noted that Obajana, Oyo, Apata and Iwa communities hosting the largest cement company in Africa are presently witnessing fast growth in population as well as infrastructural advancement stressing that the inhabitants must change their habits for the better, especially as it affects proper planning and sound sanitation in order to justify the gains of establishing the giant industry in the zone.
In its bid to ensure the cleanliness of all the hosting communities of the cement company, the commissioner disclosed that the state government on its part would provide a good number of public toilets this year to all the nooks and crannies of the industrial area to improve on the sanitary condition.
“As you know government alone cannot tackle the maintenance of sanitary environment. It must be shared between government and the people. Government also is ready to encourage private public partnership arrangement to ensure that wastes are properly handled in our society”, Commissioner stated.
“ The state government will not relent in monitoring the activities of the Dangote Cement Company through private public partnership means to prevent the hazards of toxic wastes capable of causing air pollution so as to protect the good heath of residents around the industrial area” the commissioner further assured.
Dr. Olusegun Obaje of the Specialist Hospital, Lokoja, in his counseling on health issue during the sensitization programme, blamed the poor condition of most people’s health to inability of them observing basic hygiene in their living environment.
He advised the people to always imbibe the spirit of cleanliness in their personality, environment, houses and surrounding “Make sure that you keep your houses and surrounding clean, don’t live with mosquitoes, don’t breed rats/cockroaches, don’t hesitate to provide toilets in your homes and above all don’t build close to the factory or embark on construction of illegal structures”
Dr Obaje also counseled the people on the danger of the constant Lassa fever out break in parts of Nigeria which has led to the untimely deaths of innocent citizens in recent times with a warning that they should try as much as possible to avoid rats having access to their living homes “Rat has been discovered to be the main causes of Lassa fever if it has contact with our food. Try to device means of getting rats killed physically or prevent from entering your houses’
In a paper presented by the publisher of The Nigerian Post Community Newspaper, Mr. Michael Abuh, Titled ‘Preparing Obajana and Neighbouring Communities for population challenge as a result of location of Africa largest cement company in the zone”, the publisher described effective planning and improvement on sanitation situation in the industrial communities as a total failure and woeful.
He said the industrial zones needed proper planning and restructuring so as to meet the increasing population demands for the provision of basic infrastructure such as potable water, roads, hospitals and educational institutions.
Abuh maintained that Dangote Cement Company on its part has not done enough in its social responsibility to the host communities and urged the management of the factory to intensify efforts to address the shortcomings.
The Bajana 111 of Obajana in Oworo District of Lokoja Local Government Area, Kogi state, His Royal Highness, Oba Idowu Isenibi(JP), who spoke on behalf of other traditional rulers at the event, said that the sensitization program is a welcome development that would further assist in attracting more investors to come and invest in the area.
He thanked the organizers for the gesture with assurance that they as royal fathers will impress on their subjects to show improvement on their planning and sanitary conditions.
Government officials drawn from Kogi state Town Planning Board, Environmental Protection Board and Sanitation and Waste Management Board in their separate Goodwill messages dwelt mainly on the effective use of land to ensure comfort, industrial harmony, functionability of any situation, beauty environment and equitable allocation of resources amongst others.
They attributed the success of every humanbeing and beyond to proper planning and execution appealing to all and sundry to embrace the gesture.
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