On Thursday, June 2, 2022, the Rivers State Governor, Barr. Nyesom Wike set up a 5-man Committee as task force to remove refuse that litter the city of Port Harcourt and its environment. The Committee is considered a solution to address the issue of heads of wastes all around the city which the Rivers State Waste Management Agency (RIWAMA) has failed to address and the Governor unable to sack the Sole Administrator, Felix Obuah like he did to the Environment and Health Commissioners over negligible offences not as heavy as the one by the sole administrator yet he is still in office. The Members of the Task Force on Sanitation are:

1: Hon Isoboye Jack (Chairman)
2: Hon. Josiah Olu
3: Hon. Victor Ihunwo
4: Prince Wali Wosu
5: Princess Ibiene Ogan.

Following the Governor’s formation of this taskforce, the management of Silverbird radio, Rhythm 93.7FM contacted and invited the Executive Director of Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC), Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface to react and speak live via telephone in their 6PM news on June 2 on the committee’s membership and capacity to carry out the task given to them.

Below are the recordings and transcribed excerpt from the telephone conversion between the world news bulletin caster, Ephraim Emmanuel and Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface; 

EPHRAIM EMMANUEL: To speak on these environmental issues is Environmental Rights Activist and Executive Director Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre.  Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface. Good evening and thanks for joining us on the News at 6.

EPHRAIM EMMANUEL: What’s your take on the 5-man committee set up by the Governor to clear refuse in Port Harcourt and its environment?

FYNEFACE: My take on the committee is that, the committee will not be able to manage the waste in Port Harcourt city and its environments. What the sanitation Authority could not do. I am surprised that a 5-man committee put together will be able to do so. I think the committee will not be able to manage the waste in the city of Port Harcourt. You will agree with me that, it is because of the failure of the sanitation Authority which the government has not so far been able to resuscitate and take action that will bring the sanitation authority that has long standing experience on waste management is what this committee are now being brought to do. So I do not see them been able to handle waste management in Port Harcourt and its environs. Recall that this is over a year since the governor sacked the commissioner for Environment.  We do not have a commissioner for Environment in the state. This is now over a month since the governor sacked private contractors at RIWAMA and it’s also close to a month after the governor said that Obio/Akpor council chairman and Port Harcourt city council chairman should take care of waste disposal in the state. All this plethora of agencies and people he has put together has failed. So I don’t see this 5-man committee been able to manage the huge waste that we have across Port Harcourt and its environs today. This five man committee is similar to a committee the governor set up some time ago to handle the issue of pot holes in Port Harcourt. If you go round Port Harcourt you will see so many potholes in many places. The committees are not helping us, because they are ad hoc and they lack full experience to be able to run and the equipment that is needed to be able to drive the system. I will advise the governor of the state to try as much as possible to tell us what is the issue with the Rivers State Waste Management Agency and be able to treat the issue in the agency, give them all the materials, resources, equipment they need to carry out the duty of the agency.

EPHRAIM EMMANUEL: One notable person amongst the 5 man committee is Isoboye Jack who was sanitation officer during Amaechi’s tenure. Do you think he wouldn’t succeed in this task given to him by Governor Wike?

FYNEFACE: I don’t see him being able to succeed in this task. What is it that has made long standing Rivers state waste management agency to fail, that cannot be fixed and what is it that will make a man who has just had experience in waste management to be able to succeed? For you to succeed, in this task you must have some waste disposal vehicles, trucks that will be able to do this. How many trucks have they been given to handle this? The governor promised to employ three thousand sanitation marshals. That was about three years exactly since that statement was made, to help in sanitation management they have not also been put in place. I do not see this committee which he just put in place (02-06-2022) being able to manage the waste in the city of Port Harcourt. If the waste in Port Harcourt could overwhelmed the Rivers State sanitation agency which is made up of over 50 people that have been put together, headed by Bro Felix Obuah, I wonder why the 5-man committee will be able to handle waste in the city of Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor. If the council chairmen who have more resources and more capacity could be overwhelmed and unable to carry out the instructions of the governor to the extent that they couldn’t clean the city, I don’t see the 5-man committee succeeding in the task they have been given.

EPHRAIM EMMANUEL: What about the use of taskforce, do you think they will succeed?

FYNEFACE: What does that solve? They will not succeed they are just ad hoc. This committee that has just been set up they are not a creation of law. They are just created, put together to manage the system. I do not think that they are going to succeed, because the waste we have now requires professional consultants, beyond what is currently on ground now.

We must have to look at what made RIWAMA to fail, carry out a study on that and try to understand what made them fail and then use that as a parameter to be able to work.

EPHRAIM: What’s your general advice for members of the committee as they begin their work soon?

FYNEFACE: I congratulate them on their appointment and I ask them to liaise with the Rivers state sanitation waste management agency, they should liaise with Port Harcourt city council area, they should liaise with Obio/Akpor council, they should also liaise with previous commissioners of Environment in the state for them to be able to carry out their duties. Whatever it is that is their challenge they should communicate with the governor on time to be able to carry out their duties. I look forward to the governor also being able to address their issues in such a way that they will be able to take some actions that will enable them to evacuate waste in the city. In addition, the governor should immediately, appoint those contractors that were sacked on April 29th so that those contractors can work with this team he has put in place to be able to address those issues. They lack logistics, finance with the time they have I don’t think they will be able to get the waste out of the state in the shortest possible time as required. Because we are in COVID, monkey pox, the raining season, with diseases added with the soot here in the city of Port Harcourt, so adding waste everywhere in the city is not something I think we should be able to condole within the longest time possible season. This issue has to be addressed almost immediately so that we can have a cleaner city that will be called garden city as it is and not garage city as what we are currently seeing.

EPHRAIM: Thank you very much for joining us on the news at 6. That was Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface, Environmental Rights Activist and Executive Director….. FULL audio recording is available here: