The Chairman, Governing Board of the Waste Management Authority, ASWAMA, Dr Emma Ezenwaji has urged market leaders in Anambra State to support the government in its bid to sanitize the market environment.
Ezenwaji who made the call during the monthly market sanitation exercise at Nkwo-Amaenyi market in Awka, condemned the attitude of traders, who went about their normal businesses during the early hours of the exercise until the board, supported by the enforcement team, ensured compliance.
He said, “I am really disappointed. We agreed to this second Thursday sanitation exercise after a meeting with the market leaders. In fact, they were the ones who told us that they are fine with second Thursday when they will be in their various stalls at the markets.
“But, eventually, we are able to make them comply as you can see after the challenge we had at the initial time. We are serious about this and there is no going back”.
The Chairman assured that they would further engage with the leadership of the market to prevent a reoccurrence in subsequent exercises.
“We understand that he was duly communicated on Wednesday and the market had a meeting same day but he did not tell the traders about the exercise.
“I use this opportunity to call on market leaders to see it as their duty to engage traders. Once the leaders tell them what to do, I am sure the traders are easy to lead, they will do it,” he added.
On his part, Managing Director of ASWAMA, Mr Mike Ozoemena expressed joy that they were able to create awareness among the traders, who according to him feigned ignorance of the exercise.
“You can see that as we directed them, they started complying. We are happy. We hope that by next month, we shall not have this kind of problem.
“Today, we could not enforce, we had to sensitize the traders. You can see our vehicles around and the people are happy bringing out their wastes,” he noted.
In a remark, member of ASWAMA board, Prince Chris Azor, described Amaenyi market as a test case, which had produced a good result, even as he noted that sensitization must be sustained for everyone to accept the new way of life.
“We are here to observe and make sure that the right thing is done. Today is a test case, we had some teething challenges. But, the overall outcome is good. As civil society, we believe in sensitization and enlightenment before enforcement. It is better to make people comply without being prodded,” he stated.
Some of the traders, who resumed their business as early as 6am, frowned at what they termed distraction from the enforcers, even as they appreciated the initiative.
One of them, who preferred anonymity, queried why such an important exercise was not publicized within and around the market.
“We are citizens, you don’t just come hear and ask us to close our shops. We were not informed about this sanitation exercise before now. Other times, let them announce it very well,” he said.