By Jonathan Ugbal
The Cross River Government has announced that it will commence investigation into the alleged ordering of a student of Edgerley memorial girls secondary school in Calabar, the state capital by a Green Sheriff personnel to pack refuse after littering the street.
This was contained in statement signed by the spokesperson to Governor Ben Ayade, Mr. Christian Ita and issued Thursday which said Mr. Ayade “regrets” the incident and will investigate the matter.
The statement comes on the heels of an outrage on social media over the image uploaded by the Special Assistant to Mr. Ayade on media and publicity, Mr. Emmanuel Ulayi which shows a student of the institution packing refuse from the streets with her bare hands.
Mr. Ulayi who is also a member of Governor Ayade’s social media team had on Wednesday at 1:01 PM wrote: “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. This happened at Edgerly street.”
The post as at press time has been shared 44 times with Andrea Inyang commenting that the action went against the efforts of the health sector in the state.
And, Mr. Ita’s statement which struggled to cushion the backlash read: “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.”
The Green Sheriff was created by Mr. Ayade to tackle the challenges of environmental degradation, climate change and deforestation.
It was rechristened Green Sheriff after an outcry of the term “Police” in its initial nomenclature with the cadets, accompanied by armed Policemen expected to ensure the urban areas are kept clean while another group is to tackle deforestation amongst others.
There is no known office of the agency with CrossRiverWatch yet to reach the institution for comments.