Oyo rewards state’s cleanest market

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marketFor many Ibadan communities, August 26, 2011 is a day that will never be forgotten as they continue to count their losses as a result of a flooding disaster that many have been unable to recover from. The ancient city of Ibadan, West Africa’s largest metropolitan city is said to have a lengthy rainy season that runs between March and October with a history of flooding that has become a yearly disaster as a result of hydrological and anthropogenic factors.

And according to data, Ibadan has witnessed several devastating flood incidents since 1933 and flooding has become a perennial occurrence but the August 26, 2011 has been adjudged to be the most destructive with monetary value of damages to property running into billions and many lives lost;  a total of 39 bridges and culverts were damaged in the floods.

A flood vulnerability assessment of Ibadan showed that Mean Annual Rainfall (MAR) contributed more to flooding than other factors while indiscriminate dumping of solid wastes in streams and river channels, and construction of buildings in flood plains and across drainages remains a major factor.

Further research revealed that open market places contribute largely to the indiscriminate dumping of refuse within Ibadan communities and are a major source of blocked drainages and water ways. And to curb this excessive tendencies of open market traders and inculcate in them the basic habit of proper waste disposal, a project tagged the operation Keep Ibadan Clean and Flood-Free (OKIC&FF) was put in place.

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OKIC&FF is one of the non structural measures conceived by the Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project (IUFMP) with support from the World Bank to tackle the problem  of indiscriminate dumping of waste in markets and other public places by conducting sensitization outreaches and raise the cleanliness index in public places within Ibadan metropolis.

One of the tools employed is a competition for all open markets within Ibadan and the yardstick for choosing a winner focuses on compliance with the state government’s extant laws on proper waste disposal, cleaning of drainage channels, absence of litters or accumulation of waste and presence as well as maintenance of toilet facilities among other criteria.

And at the end of the Ibadan Cleanest Market competition, the first stage which spanned from July to September, the Ogbere Idi Osan market in Inukan Local Council development area of Oyo state emerged the winner in the competition and an award ceremony was held at the market where a billboard was unveiled and the market executives given the award.

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The ceremony had in attendance chairmen of local government areas of Ibadan, market executives, environmental officers and personnel of affiliated government agencies.

Speaking during the award ceremony, the IUFMP Project Coordinator, Mr Dayo Ayorinde asked for the continuous cooperation of all market operators and public places coordinators to collaborate with the agency to ensure the realization of the lofty ideals of the OKIC&FF.

Also speaking, the Commissioner for the Oyo state Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, Chief Isaac Ishola, stated that the essence of the competition is to inculcate the habit and practice of cleanliness and environmental sanctity in open markets and public places in tandem with the old age maxim that says cleanliness is next to godliness.

“The motivating factor for all this is the need to checkmate indiscriminate dumping of waste which is one of the major factors that predisposes Ibadan to perennial flood disasters,” Chief Ishola stated.

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Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, Mr Gabriel Olusoji Oguntola stated that OKIC&FF was instituted for the purpose of raising the cleanliness index of places of mass convergence within Ibadan environs which was hitherto known to be plagued with environmental lapses such as waste dumping and indiscriminate disposal, lack of or improperly managed toilet facilities, street trading and unhygienic exposure of consumables among other unsanitary habits.

“In view of the prevalence of open markets that dot the nooks and crannies of Ibadan and the corresponding tons of refuse generated by these markets, it is very much in order to conceive an initiative whose thrust would be to inculcate the right sanitary values in users of the markets and such public places,” he added.

He concluded by all market men and women to be challenged by the opportunity   to make a difference in their jurisdiction so that they also can be eligible in subsequent editions.

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