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Minister Alerts On Refugees’ Migration

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Minister of Federal Capital Territory,  Bala Mohammed warned on Wednesday that Nigeria might experience massive environmental refugee migration if urgent steps were not taken to mitigate the adverse impact of climate change.

Speaking at the 38th regular meeting of the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed said that Nigeria was one of the countries expected to be most affected by the climate change.

He said the impact would include a rise in the sea level along the coastline, intensified desertification, erosion, flooding disasters and general land degradation.

As populations are displaced and climatic and vegetation belts migrate away from their traditional geographical location, a general disruption in food production is expected to be the outcome.

The minister lamented that over the years, the development of the forest sub-sector in the FCT had suffered a series of setbacks.

He said the setbacks were as a result of deforestation and the resultant infrastructural development, gathering of fuel wood, bush burning and illegal timber exploitation, farming activities and charcoal production.

“These activities are further compounded by the residents of the neighbouring states to the FCT who travel into the territory for massive deforestation for logging and charcoal production,” he said.

To address these challenges, the minister said the FCT had embarked on rigorous sensitisation of relevant stakeholders on the dangers of indiscriminate felling of trees in addition to the enforcement of enabling laws on deforestation.

In his address, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Professor Ahmed Abdullah, said the phenomenon of global climate change had manifested itself in Nigeria particularly in 2010 through prolonged rains leading to flooding.

Abdullah said the flooding occurred in Jigawa, Sokoto, Kebbi, Ogun and Lagos states.

He said there were also indications of a rise in the sea level which would make the coastal areas vulnerable to erosion and flooding.

“Indeed as time goes on, the effect of climate change will be so devastating that most of our islands will no longer exist.

“Also ground water resources in the coastal areas will become more brackish as a result of infiltration of salt water mixing with fresh water,’’ he said.

Abdullah said the impact of climate change may also lead to migration within and from the neighboring countries like Chad and Niger, adding that this would put pressure on available natural resources in the central part of Nigeria.

He said that in spite of the numerous challenges posed to agriculture by climate change, the ministry remained resolute and committed to the provision of high quality food for every Nigerian.

Mr Hamza Buwai, the FCT Secretary of Agriculture, expressed concern at the uncontrolled human activities capable of exacerbating the impact of climate change.

“Such activities have culminated in the disappearance of wild life habitat, change in rainfall pattern and a rise in temperature,” he said.

Buwai said the FCT would not relent in its effort to ameliorate some of the devastating effects of climate change.

The theme of the conference is “Adaptation Strategies to Mitigate the Effect of Climate Change for Sustainable Food Security.’’

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Environment

We’re Hopeful Of Passage Of Water Resources Bill -Minister

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The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, has expressed hope over the passage of the National Water Resources Bill before the National Assembly.
Adamu expressed the optimism while answering questions on the sidelines of a two-day training for Water Resources Correspondents, Editors, and News Analysts in the Nigerian Water Sector’  with theme, ‘Reporting Water in its Perspective’.
The Tide source reports that the training is to build capacity of reporters on water resources sector by having deep knowledge of terminologies and issues in the water sector.
The Tide also recalls that the Bill, which was introduced in the 8th Assembly, caused outrage as some Nigerians interpreted the law as a power grab by the federal Government.
“It is part of our roadmap as far as I am concerned. We will continue to engage with the National Assembly, now that they have come back from recess, we hope to engage.
“At the same time, we are talking to all other antagonists to allay the fears to accommodate whatever apprehension. We are very confident that we’ll get that bill passed,” the minister said.
He further stated that it was wrong for a section of Nigerians to completely criticize and condemn the whole Bill instead of pointing out areas that needs to be reconsidered.
“It doesn’t make sense if you have problem with the Bill; identify the key issue or problem if there is need for amendment instead to completely condemn just because of one or two items you are not satisfied with.
“In the National Assembly, you have public hearing, and we will still go back,” the minister said.

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Community Residents Flay Dumping Of Sachets, Bottles In Drainages

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Some residents of Eneka Community in Obio/Akpor  Local Government Area of Rivers State have condemned the indiscriminate dumping of water sachets and bottles in drainages and along the road in the community.
Speaking in an interview with The Tide in the community, they said the situation is not only an eyesore but responsible for incessant flooding being witnessed in the community.
Mr Chibuike Adim, indigene of Rumuoji Eneka condemned the practice, adding that it is this practice that blocked the gutters and caused flashed flooding in some areas in the community.
Adim called on the state government to save the community from the practice by constituting the tax force to check this habit.
He also said those who engaged in this practice are not only uneducated but also foolish, stressing that such people must be dealt with according to the law.
Also speaking, Miss Patience Odum also condemned the practice but added that there is no designated refuse dump site in the community.
Odum also urged for the provision of refuse receptacle in the area while the Rivers State Waste Management agency (RIWAMA) should also monitor the activities of the people.
Also speaking, Miss Alice Nsikak, a student of Rivers State University said the practice has become a big problem to the community as the entire drainages are blocked.
She stressed the need for sensitisation of the residence against the practice.
Nsikak also called on government to improve the method of refuse collection by providing waste bin to homes on the streets.
According to her, “people could be asked to pay little amount of money every month”, adding that the proposal will check the menace as well as check flash flooding in the community.
Also speaking with The Tide, Mr Ndubuise Ogom confirmed that dumping of plastic materials, refuge and pure water sachets in the drains is a very common practice in Eneka and also felt very bad about this practice.
This practice, added, must be stopped by government by promulgating laws to punish offenders. This if done, will prevent people taking part in such practice. He suggested, a fine of N1000 be slammad on those dumping refuge and plastic containers in the gutter.

By: Oribim Nyanaa Ibama, Elendu Obochi Esther & Inimgba Favour Victor

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Environment

UNESCO Laments Impending Collapse Of Biodiversity …Says Human Survival At Risk

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The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has raised alarm at the unprecedented speed which biodiversity is collapsing globally.
The Director-General of UNESCO Ms Audrey Azoulay, expressed this concern at the UNESCO 33rd session of the the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB-ICC) Programme in Abuja.
Biodiversity refers to the variety of life on earth at all its levels, from genes to ecosystems, and can encompass the evolutionary, ecological, and cultural processes that sustain
The director-general said that with the impending collapse, not only was human survival at risk, but also the beauty and the diversity of the world.
She said that the collapse was from the treetops to the ocean depths and from vertebrates to invertebrates, adding that no species was spared.
“This is the spirit driving UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme. It is what makes it so pioneering and so valuable.
“We all have to stand on the earth itself and go with her at her pace. With this impending collapse, not only is human survival at risk, but also the beauty, the diversity of the world.
“But this collapse is not inevitable: there is still time to make peace with the planet,” she said.
According to her, there is the conviction that we can re-forge our relationship with nature, that we can reconcile development and environmental protection.
“We must harness the power of education to rebuild our relationship with nature. UNESCO is fully mobilised to ensure that the environment becomes a key curriculum component by 2025.
“This is in line with the commitment made by the 80th governments we gathered at the Berlin conference last May.
UNESCO, a custodian of knowledge and know-how concerning biodiversity, has been developing concrete solutions to environmental challenges for over 50 years through the MAB programme and its network of protected sites, covering nearly six per cent of the planet.
With 714 biosphere reserves in 129 countries, including transboundary sites, UNESCO seeks to reconcile humans and nature and demonstrate that it is possible to use biodiversity sustainably while fostering its conservation.
The Minister of State for Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, said that the world was facing planetary crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.
According to her, this global loss of biodiversity is threatening the security of the world’s food supplies and the livelihoods of millions of people including indigenous people and local communities, especially in the African region.

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