Gutters are mostly channels for waters. They are constructed to provide passage for water, to avoid indiscriminate flooding of roads which causes damage to the roads and constitutes environmental degradation.
Gutters in Imo State for a long time now have been covered by sand and filth, thereby defeating their essence. In Owerri capital city which also serves as the commercial nerve centre of the state, the state of gutters have over the years been pathetic. Almost all gutters in the city are filled with all kinds of rubbish, including faeces which exude offensive odour.
The state of the gutters betray us as lower animals which dine and wine in the midst of dirt and filth. Some hygiene minded individuals have over the years found it strange how our people have managed to inhabit in areas where such gutters exist.
It was recently observed that the state government has started comprehensive desilting of the gutters in Owerri. A move around the city, one observes young men who on daily basis are passionately engaged in desilting the gutters. This action will make the state decent and make the inhabitants look like human beings.
This project, if sincerely carried out and objectively realized and sustained, in my own estimation will be a high point for this present government that has had numerous low points within its lifespan.
There is therefore the need to pursue it holistically and realize the presumed aim of opening all gutters in the state, especially in the capital city and provide free channel for flood water. By this, our gutters will start serving their original purpose as channels for water and not water well, lake or swamp. Apart from fully realizing the project, plans should be made for its sustained maintenance and prevent the silting back after the effort.
An agency should be created to handle the programme. We have numerous agencies here and there, some duplicating the job of others, but an agency to handle the maintenance of our gutters will be a right step in the right direction. Good a thing, the Federal Government of Nigeria “Extended Public Works” Programme has come on stream. The state should utilize it maximally to realize this project.
Since the federal government’s programme is all about engaging unemployed youths to keep cities and towns across Nigeria clean, including desilting of gutters, it has come at a right time and the state should utilize the benefiting youths to actualize its purpose in the area of desilting the gutters and maintaining its cleanliness.
Let me repeat that this is a laudable project that should be continued. Some of us have for a long time shed tears over the condition of our gutters and general environment and wondered why successive governments have found it extremely difficult to desilt the entire gutters in the capital city and entire state. We had clamoured for a deliberate policy to handle the maintenance of gutters which will definitely positively rub off on the healthy well-being of the inhabitants of the state.
Let me also make it clear that yours sincerely is a development oriented writer who wastes no time in writing against government policies that are anti people. I therefore owe it as a point of duty to my conscience and the society to also applaud any one that is considered people oriented. That we write and criticize; bad, unprogressive and inhuman government; policies, programmes and actions, do not mean we are against the government or want it to fail. To the contrary, we want the government to succeed, because when it succeeds, we all will benefit from it and enjoy good life.
Therefore, if you are among those who stand just for condemnation and never see any reason to commend, probably for political reasons, you better have a rethink.
Let me repeat that the comprehensive desilting of gutters across Owerri capital city as being witnessed currently is a welcome development, a right step in the right direction. It is a thing of joy for some of us who have been concerned about their dirty nature in the past. We encourage government to be passionate, sincere and committed to its realization.
Meanwhile after realizing this project, part of the effort to maintain it should be to strictly regulate activities of those who live close or do businesses close to the gutters. Our people have been so carefree that they dump things into the gutters without considering the consequences. To maintain the cleanliness of the gutters, such practices must be made to stop immediately.
However, to actualize this, government should further do its part by providing waste bins in close proximity, to provide people places to dispose the small waste that are generated, especially cans and plastic bottles of beverages, pure water sachets, various wraps for snacks and fruits that people generate every day.
When this is done, a penalty should be stipulated for people who drop items in the gutters, while a well refined taskforce should be instituted to monitor activities of people as it relates to the gutters.
It should also be the responsibility of inhabitants to clean gutters within their residential or business premises, at least on monthly basis, during the monthly clean up exercises in the state. Such inhabitants should be held responsible in the event of blockage of the gutters within their vicinity. I think this way these gutters will be maintained, which will in turn contribute to restoring sanity to our environment.