UNIZIK lecturer, 40 others honoured over role on environmental cleanliness, sustainability

UNIZIK lecturer, 40 others honoured over role on environmental cleanliness, sustainability

The cleric donates waste baskets to the faculty.

UNIZIK lecturer, 40 others honoured over role on environmental cleanliness, sustainability

By Emeka Okeke, Awka

No fewer than 40 people that included a popular cleric, Rev. Livinus Okeke, Spiritual Director, Ave Maria Prayer Ministry, Ifite Awka, and lecturer at the Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, UNIZIK, Awka, Anambra State capital, were weekend, honoured by the Environment Faculty, over the role they played in environmental cleanliness and sustainability.

They were honoured with awards during the launch of #100million Waste recycling hub, water reservoir, modern lavatory system for students/staff and model environmental beautification project.

In declaring the event which was organised by the Faculty of   Environmental Sciences, (FES), in conjunction with FES  Taskforce on Waste Disposal and Environmental  Cleanliness, open, the UNIZIK Vice Chancellor, Prof. Charles  Esimone, expressed satisfaction with the efforts of the faculty in ensuring environmental cleanliness and sustainability within the faculty and entire University and urged the students, staff and stakeholders to maintain the tempo.

The cleric being presented with award by former Dean of the Faculty  Prof. Nnodu Valerie

He said, "I am happy with what I see here, wearing the view, a slogan for the state which Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo himself launched, clean, green and sustainable Anambra state. Everyone of us should be a participator in environmental cleanliness, environmental sanitation and have to be sustainable, that's why everyone should be involved.

" The ministry is driving the secular economic policy in waste management, trying to inculcate the five arms of environmental sustainable waste management where we try to reduce the waste from the source with purpose use of the waste, to recycle the waste, redesign it and with the whole aim of bringing the waste to a nearest minimum or in actual fact, making the waste become a process for another life against its positional nutrition. That is what secular ecology is all about.and the Ministry is driving it with force.

"Very soon, the state will launch its sewage plant, sewage disposal has been very unfriendly on environment because it is just disposed probably at gullies and they find their ways in our streets. Government of Anambra state is working so hard for the first time to provide plant for the state. Waste management has been an issue because of some behavioural attitude of some people but we are trying to make waste to become management sustainable by allowing the citizens to participate.

"We know that Anambra is the erosion capital of the world, it has become a case of worry to the state, but instead of allowing  this to continue, state has provided preventive measures and we are applying it with full force. The ministry and state are interested in having a recycling hub, we have visited some hubs and going to provide more. 

"Though you have decided to do it, try to attend the five others, try to form the same thing in environmental sciences, make sure it is duplicated in the faculty of arts, medicine, engineering, in the hostel where you are, that is where it can be sustainable, make sure other trees are planted, make sure it is planted in all faculties, go along with others, dont go alone, don't rest, we want to be champions, but you have to be carrying others along, make sure you do programmes where others will be carried along like this one we are doing, making sure that the environment is clean, where others can be happy",  VC pleaded to participants.

In his own speech, Livinus Okeke, a lecturer in the faculty and one of the awardees who also doubles as the Spiritual Director, Ave Maria Prayer Ministry, Ifite Awka, said that he was surprised when the Dean of the Faculty of Environmental Sciences, (FES), Prof. Chinedu O. Okoye, called him and told him about the award to him.

"But just like my HOD Prof. Nnodu, said that they want to use this opportunity to appreciate those that have been working behind the scene for the success of the faculty. In my own little way, I try as much as I can to make sure that students are safe where necessary, we came in the way of advisers, also resources in our little way to keep things going, just as one of our philosophers said, don't think always for what the government will do for you, think of what you can do for the government.

" I think it is one of the things that inspired the Dean and his team members to call me for this award and my colleagues who were also given award," Okeke stated.

On how he reconciles lecture and gospel, the man of God said that some of the activities in the University were gospel, adding, "You cannot talk about salvation and spirituality without talking of healthy environment, sustainable clean environment is spirituality, just as godliness and cleanliness go peripersu. So we are trying our best to see how we can take care of our environment and the Ministry is going indirectly to assist in one way or the other, so that is where the Ministry comes in," he stated.

He disclosed further that students of Environmental Sciences easely gain employment more than others and could also be self employed adding, "The students are in better position getting job because they can be easily self employed. So just like the VC said in his speech, let there be balance while handling, being partner to the sustainable environment.

" They should also not play with their studies, so that when they come out, they will be on a balance scale on how to contribute their quota to the society, faculty of Environmental Science offers more to the public. In Nigeria, we feel self centered, balancing it will start with removing self centeredness, when you litter an environment, you know the consequences because you don't care about the health of the nearest person where you littered the environment.

"The way out is, what can I do as a person to maintain a healthy environment, when all of us in this country are thinking towards that direction, things will get better, the thing is that all hands must be on deck to get things work," he posited.

Also on the incumbent President  Bola Tinubu, a Moslem, in a secular State, the cleric said that, "There is no fear of the moslem-moslem ticket. In Nigeria, it  is clearly stated that there is freedom of worship, we should be talking of the credibility of the man on seat not religion, can he move this country to a greater height? I am not worried about moslem moslem ticket, I am interested in credibility, development strategies.

"Can this person in authority bring strategies that uplift this nation from poverty, the country is sinking on daily basis, as at today one dollar is #940 and that has caused inflation, all of the problem of Nigeria is religion, I am a Christian, I know what I'm talking about, the day we start thinking of our self conscience, what we can do to get more things forward, regardless of whatever we believe in, we can get it right.

"Putin, is he a Christian, Chinese are they Christians? Are they not doing well? Let's tell ourselves the truth, we should think about development, think about positive policies not religion," he stated.

Prof Chinedu Okoye, Dean, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, expressed satisfaction pointing out that, "Today, we decided to gather people that we felt that are contributing to the environmental sustainability to appreciate and commend them by giving them awards. We focused on one way or the other towards building the environment, sustaining the environment, both in this University and outside the University. 

"The other one is that we look forward to receiving support from the partners on sustainability and others but because we notice that it is not easy to maintain the environment without total funding, so we requested the support and assistance of those we gave award  to support us. What we did today is in two arms, both to encourage and give awards and to seek for support so that we will maintain the environment of this university.

"The faculty of Environmental Sciences wants to put a legacy so that when you come around our faculty, you will see a model and example to take, so we want to make a model in the University," he affirmed.

Contributing, Dr Joseph Senator Oguejiofor, Senior lecturer in the faculty, stated that, "What I did as the chairman, Taskforce, Waste Disposal on Environmental Cleanliness, I said we need to set a pace as faculty that knows about the environment. We need to set the pace for others to follow, what we are doing is in line with Mr governor's agenda to make Anambra more liveable.

"When I look at this plastic waste when it rains and everywhere becomes so dirty, it becomes an eye sore, our children go to school and perceive all those bacteria, it touches me a lot, what we have done today is to first of all bring in the partners because you cannot talk of environmental sustainability, environmental cleanliness and sanitation without having a funding.

"So you need to call the stakeholders that are practising waste recycling, waste harvesting, partner with them to help you in this mission, to make the environment cleaner, greener, neater, that's why the tag of this event is clean, green and sustainable. So I agree that when Mr governor hears about this event, he is going to be very excited, by the time the equipment will be procured, by making this environment sustainable, you will not know this faculty again.

"We want to change the narrative towards attitudes indiscriminate waste disposal, it is a thing of the mind, it is collective work to help the government, anything that is for the good of the humanity and out working the tour, I am in, I am not for mere academic exercise, we will begin implementation the moment our partners respond because if we did not make this environment sustainable, it is going to hurt us, hurt the generation to come," he said.

The Commissioner for Environment Dr.Felix Odimegwu, an award winner from the faculty, on environmental cleanliness, called for a sustainable practice of Environmental cleanliness by everybody.

According to Dr.Odimegwu government has launched operation pick up plastic materials and has so far recovered ten thousand tonnes of plastic materials.

The commissioner affirmed that in due course,government will build a sewage treatment plant in the state for its proper disposal and recycling, adding that government has made it mandatory that before any building plan is approved, developers will build catchment pits within their compounds to checkmate erosion.

A guest lecturer, Dr.David Onuoha, stressed the need for people to be environmental friendly and avold acts such as open defecation which aids in the depletion of the zone layer, even as he supported the practice of tree planting as a measure to checkmate erosion.

Others who spoke in favour of a friendly environment included,  President General of Omasi town Union, Mr.Alfred Okafor, Mr.Livinus Okeke, a staff of Unizik, and another award winner for environmental cleanliness, Mr.Emelie Nwankwo.

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