Photo caption: From left, Executive Director, Commercial and Institutional Banking, Sterling Bank, Tunde Adeola, Chief Executive Officer, Sterling One Foundation, Olapeju Ibekwe, Odenusi Olawale, Digital Marketing Communications Lead, Rite Foods, Chief Olumide Ilumo Oniru, Olopon of Iru Kingdom and the Otunba of Ilashe, General Manager, Corporate and Investment Banking, Sterling Bank, Mrs. Mojisola Bakare during the cleaning exercise at Oniru Beach to mark the World Recycling Day in Lagos recently.
The management of Sterling Bank Plc, at the mid-week said it recently celebrated the World Cycling Day, with cleaning of markets, roads and beaches in environmental cleaning exercises carried out in 22 states across Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative known as Sterling Bank Environmental Makeover (STEM).
The exercise, a commitment to creating a cleaner and safer environment for the citizenry and aquatic life, were simultaneously held in Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Kwara, Ondo, Ekiti, Kano, Jigawa, Kaduna, Abuja, Delta, Anambra, Edo, Abia, Imo, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa-Ibom, Gombe, Bauchi, Plateau, Katsina and Lagos.
This year’s edition, according to a statement by the bank, had over 1,000 participants, including staff of Sterling Bank and volunteers.
In Lagos, for example, the exercise was executed in partnership with the Oniru Kingdom, Rite Foods, First Exploration and Petroleum Development Company, Bonnie Bio, Sterling One Foundation, Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), African Clean Up Initiative and the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA).
Speaking at the cleaning exercise on Oniru Beach, Lagos, Abubakar Suleiman, Managing Director and Chief Executive of Sterling Bank, said the event held in 23 of the 24 states it is partnering with across the country.
The CEO, who was represented by Tunde Adeola, Executive Director, Commercial and Institutional Banking at Sterling Bank, recalled “We have been on this journey for more than 10 years. Every time, this happens, we have a cleaner and healthier environment.”
According to him, over the last two years, the bank has received recognition and awards for the initiative, aside from also being in the forefront of tourism in Lagos State.
Also speaking, Mrs. Mojisola Bakare, General Manager, Corporate and Investment Banking, said the bank “is about impactful banking,” stressing the need to live on earth and impact on the environment, which is the reason for the HEART of Sterling, following its strategic decision to impact specific areas of growth in the economy.
She said the HEART of Sterling stands for Health, Education, Agriculture, Renewable Energy and Transportation, adding that the head office in Marina, Lagos is already being fitted with solar panels to ensure that soon it will be sustainably powered by the sun.
“It is very important that we take responsibility for our actions on the environment and preserve its beauty to boost the local economy and attract foreign tourists, and by extension, foreign exchange into the country,” Mrs. Bakare said.
On her part, the Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism in, Mrs. Uzamat Yussuf stressed that Lagos has remained “a place of aquatic splendor,” but warned that water “is not well protected and sustained, it is better we don’t have any of it at all, and that is why it is important for us to sensitise the citizens of Lagos on the proper way to dispose wastes properly.
“When we do not dispose wastes properly, it becomes an issue for ourselves and the state at large, because when the rain starts and all our drainages are blocked, then we continue to experience flooding. In developed countries, they sell their beaches to tourists and make huge money as well as increase level of employment for their people.”
The commissioner stressed the need for the citizenry to clean the beaches in a bid to encourage visits by tourists to come see what the state can offer, adding that the purpose of tourism is to create wealth; which ultimately will increase the GDP of the country. She implored all to continue to manage and dispose wastes properly in a bid to sustain the environment.
In the Umuahia leg of the exercise, the Abia State Commissioner of Transport, Godswill Uwanoruo, commended the management and staff of the bank for the cleaning exercise which started in the state since 2015.
He recalled starting the programme with Sterling Bank “in 2015 when I introduced the bank’s team led by the incumbent CEO, Mr. Suleiman, who was the then Executive Director of Finance to the governor of the state, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu.
“I am happy that they continued the programme by making sure that Abia State is clean,” Uwanoruo said.
He urged other banks in the country to emulate the good gesture of Sterling Bank because it is not an easy thing for members of staff of a company to leave their offices and go out to clean markets and roads.
The commissioner also advocated that the exercise be done monthly or quarterly instead of annually.
The Commissioner of Environment in Bayelsa State, Iselema Gbaranbiri, who was at the STEM event in the state government was represented at the event as part of “synergising and keeping Bayelsa clean.”
Also, Muktar Baloni, Chairman of the Kaduna North Local Government Area Council, expressed satisfaction at the level of consistency in Sterling Bank’s environmental cleaning exercise and would want to emulate the bank by directing officials in the local government to replicate what the bank is doing in the local government.
The World Recycling Day is celebrated across the globe annually on March 18, in recognition of the role of recycling as an important component of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030.
With an estimated over two billion metric tonnes of municipal solid waste and reusable items generated globally every year, this year’s theme: ‘Recycling Fraternity,’ celebrates those who put themselves on the frontline to collect waste and engage in recycling during the multiple lockdowns as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.