The girls, students of Edgeley Memorial Girls Secondary School, it was gathered had gone to throw some refuse in the dumpster when they were accosted by the men of the Green Police for spilling some refuse on the ground.
They were then forced to use their bare hands to clean up the area around the dumpster.
According to a Mr Emmanuel Ulayi, a media aide to Governor Ben Ayade, the gesture was to ensure environmental sanity.
Ulayi who posted photos of the girls cleaning the area around the dumpsters with their hands commented, “Green Sheriff ensuring environmental sanity in Cross River State as the men of the sheriff this morning caught students of Edgerly memorial girls secondary school dumping refuse on the ground. They were taken to their school authority and seriously warned never to repeat the act again.”
But an outrage has trailed the development as residents said it was not the best way to deal with the situation even if the students spilled refuse on the ground, while using the overfilled dumpster.
“This is absolutely wrong. This is not right at all. I mean if they dumpsters are emptied whenever they are filled why would people spill refuse on the floor. Calabar is no longer as we know it with overflowing and stinky dumpsters all over the city.
Why would the Green Sheriff think that it’s the students that littered there place when people all around the area use that same bin. It is really unfair and sickening to see such development in this age. Have they even considered the health of the children? No. They just want to do eye service so people thinking they are doing anything. Calabar used to be a clean place, was it school children previous administrations were using to clean up the city at the risk of their health? Even if you wanted to punish the students, was that the appropriate kind of punishment. And to think that the government would be boasting about and showcasing this kind of disgraceful attitude is really sad and something should be done about it. How would they feel if it was their own children clearing dumpsters with bare hands? Imagine them sticking the hands they eat with in that kind of rubbish, without any kind of protection. It is a shame” a resident, Mrs Lydia Etim told The Nation.
Also comments monitored by our reporter on the post expressed a lot of anger towards the situation.
“This is what you are proud of to show here. At a time that monkey pox is this rampant. How do you explain this, that the bin was full to the brim and then she dump it on the ground then you make sure that she use her bare hands to pack the waste. I hope if this was your child you will be very happy to see this picture,” one person said.
Another said, “This kind of post only increases criticism. If you noticed, the waste bin is full and overflowing, I wonder where you expected those lads to place their waste rather dumping it on the ground. Secondly your waste management team are not effective enough else they won’t wait for it to liter everywhere before clearing it.”
Reacting to the development, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Christian Ita in a statement made available to The Nation Thursday said, “The attention of the Cross River State Governor Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade has been drawn to an incident involving an officer of the Green Sheriff asking a student of Edgerley Memorial Girls Secondary School Calabar to pack refuse which she dumped wrongly on the floor at a dump site when the dumpsters where yet not full.
“The state Governor regrets this over reach and lack of discretion of the officer and has directed the Director General of the agency to investigate the matter with a view to identifying the officer involved and taking appropriate action.
“While the State Governor appreciates the work that the Green Sheriff is doing in keeping the state clean and green, he will not tolerate actions that will increase risk of exposure of citizens to infections or other health challenges.
“In line with this, the agency is directed to step up guidance of Officers of the Green Sheriff on acceptable methods of enforcement of sanitation laws and ethical engagement of citizens.
“The Governor also encourages citizens to support government’s effort to keep the state clean by disposing off their waste appropriately and building the cleanliness culture which the state is known for.
“Once again, the governor wants to assure all citizens that it is committed to keeping the state clean and green but will do this in a civil manner that will respect rights of citizens and decency.”
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