– By Patrick Ochei
The National Youth Service Corps, NYSC has flagged off its nationwide Environmental Sanitation Exercise at the Oshimili South LGA of Delta State on Saturday 24th July, 2021.
In his address read by the State Coordinator, the Director General of the Scheme, Brig. Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim had recognised Environmental Sanitation as one of the key global requirements for the prevention of diseases and their escalation to epidemic proportion, adding that on this premise, efforts must be stepped up to enlighten the general public, especially the rural dwellers on the health risks of poor hygiene with particular focus on the prevention of contamination of food, water and the entire environment.
As read in the DG’s speech, “The theme of the programme is ‘Clean Environment/Good Hygiene: Panacea for Good Health and Long Life’.
“To achieve this, every member of the community will have to be mobilized for participation in the exercise, which will feature sensitization, disease surveillance and report of outbreaks. Indeed, the call to action will promote cooperation and reduce indifference and ignorance. A good example is seen in the robust response to the Covid-19 pandemic, with awareness creation, vigilance, and community policing becoming everyone’s business. We can no longer afford to be indifferent to anything that will be detrimental to public health and safety”, the DG stated.
Apart from the Scheme’s agenda to regularly carry out Environmental Sanitation on fortnight basis, the DG also listed a number of areas to focus on sensitization, which included clean food and water intake, proper disposal of human and animal waste and many others.
Speaking to newsmen after partaking in the environmental sanitation exercise as his first official assignment, the new NYSC State Coordinator, Mr. Alao Olusegun Olaosebikan harped on the need for urban and rural dwellers to imbibe the attitude of cleanliness in order to keep diseases out of their reaches.
According to him, “This is a great day in the annals of history of NYSC embarking on a nationwide Environmental Sanitation Exercise. We are not just doing this as support mechanism to governments and communities, we are equally sensitising the people to understand that cleanliness can protect them from various ailments and diseases.
“Remember also that in time past and most recently, we carried out the NYSC Health Initiative for Rural Dwellers which has impacted over two million patients across the country.
“It is our belief that communities will begin to imbibe the idea of clean and hygienic environment to minimise the spread of viruses, bacteria, germs and infections. Again, I suggest that we begin to discourage the reckless behaviour of indiscriminate disposal of waste so as to protect our food and water from contamination”, Mr. Olaosebikan said.
The State Coordinator nonetheless, appreciated stakeholders within the State, especially in Oshimili South LGA who came out to support and participate in the exercise, thereby calling on corporate entities and well meaning individuals to always see NYSC Community Development Service as an initiative truly geared towards impacting our communities.
Meanwhile, the HOD, Community Development Unit of Oshimili South LGA, Chief Mrs. Bridget Ukpedor who came out to participate in the exercise, commended the NYSC for encouraging clean and healthy environment.
Perhaps, the places inspected by the State Coordinator included Oshimili South LGA, Ogbogonogo market and Midwifery market, while other officials supervised the Mami market, Camp 74, Summit junction and others in Oshimili South LGA, in addition to other local government areas across the State.
Giving credence to the community effort of NYSC, some market men and women applauded the Scheme’s initiative, describing it as worthwhile and encouraging.
At Midwifery market, the leader of the Market Men and Women Association, Chief Dim Uchenna who was magnanimous to provide refreshment for the corps members and NYSC officials, commended them for choosing Midwifery market to carry out the exercise; maintaining that their effort had reinforced the need to make cleanliness a duty in the market.
While Mr. Tony Osakwe at Ogbogonogo market, said he was fascinated at the passion with which the corps members carry out the clean up, Mrs. Victoria Igwe in the same market, affirmed that the thorough cleaning done would reduce dirt and infection within the market.
It was however interesting to note that the corps members were enthused to have participated in the exercise.
Speaking to newsmen, a corps member, Ifeanyi Amaechi appreciated the NYSC for the opportunity to serve his nation, saying that Community Development Service is part of their core mandate, while another, Olajumoke Akintunde said that the markets were really dirty with most shops messed up in spite of adequate sensitization, adding that the environmental sanitation exercise afforded them the opportunity to contribute their quota to the growth and development of society in terms of hygiene and healthiness.