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Nigerian youth go viral after impromptu street clean up

INSPIRATIONAL: The youth take to the streets. (Photo credit: Twitter)

IN HIS home state of Anambra, in south-eastern Nigeria, Chris Junior Anaekwe became fed up with the sight of filthy gutters full of rubbish covered in black gunk.

Eventually, he came up with the idea to create an initiative to clean it up. The 28 year-old convinced a small group of nearly a dozen local teenage boys, aged between 14 and 16, to join the cause.

On the last Saturday of January, they used shovels to dig out the rubbish from the ditch.

The story went viral. After Anaekwe's former colleague Chimezie Anajama posted photos from his cleanup event on her Twitter account, the tweet has since been shared hundreds of times.

It reads: "Dear Twitter, a young Nigerian, Chris, just did something amazing. He influenced the youth of his street and led them to #cleanup the street gutters of #Onitsha. It is rare to see this without awaiting compensation. Bro, I am proud to've worked with you. Do RT to inspire others."

Chimezie, who works at a nonprofit organisation called Policy Alert in Uyo, Nigeria, told American media outlet NPR that the pride she feels for Chris' effort (pictured below), is an "understatement."


(Photo credit: Twitter)

Chris, himself, spoke to NPR and explained what motivated him to take action.

"When I came back to my home state of Anambra [after living for some time in Akwa Ibom state] and saw the dirty environment around our market — one of the biggest in Nigeria — I was inspired to do something.

"The market has always been dirty, but the rate at which people are throwing trash now is increasing every day. It's a centre of attraction. Most people pass through the street. And now it's become [a path for cars and motorbikes, adding traffic and pollution to the area]. No one is doing anything about the refuse going into the gutter."

Many Nigerians on Twitter have praised his initiative and stellar example to other Nigerian youth. Others pointed to it as an example of the Nigerian government's failure to keep the streets clean.

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