Anambra stat ministry of Environment has vowed stiffer penalty for violators of monthly sanitation observed in the state.
This followed low turnout of residents in the November edition of the monthly sanitation exercise in Awka and environs.
The Acting Director, Environmental Health and Pollution Control Department in the ministry, Mrs Oluchi Nwankwo, made this known during the monitoring and enforcement tour in the state capital of the sanitation exercise for the month of November.
At Arroma and Nkwor Amaenyi market, businesses were going on as usual, while at Zik Avenue, Awka, shops were closed though owners failed to participate in the exercise except engaging in meetings or loitering about to run down the sanitation time frame.
Giving her assessment of this month’s edition of the exercise, Mrs Nwankwo decried the low participation of the people in the exercise ahead of the Christmas season, wondering why residents prefer to be forced to perform their civic responsibilities.
She warned that the ministry will re-introduce the special task force and mobile courts across the state to ensure full compliance and revealed that the ministry had played down enforcement due to hardship faced by the people and enjoined the citizenry to engage in sanitation exercise in preparation for the yuletide.
Speaking on the importance of cleanliness to a successful business, Miss Ukamaka Maduakor who was seen cleaning up her area, said that a healthy environment attracts more customers, while a defaulter Mrs Amaka Obum, who runs a restaurant, denied knowledge of the exercise and pleaded for mercy.
At Nkwor Amaenyi Market, the chairman of the Security Task Force, Mr Chukwuma Okafor who said that the market is run by the elders of the village, pleaded with the Anambra State Government to intervene in the situation at the market, as traders have always failed to participate in the monthly sanitation exercise, leading to dirtiness and unhealthy market environment.