Does Nigeria and the
rest of the international community have the political will to implement the Paris agreement on climate change?
The question was raised by a cross section of participants at recent climate change conference in Port Harcourt.
The conference was organised by Alliance Françoise, Port Harcourt, to create awareness on the impact of climate change on the society.
It would be recalled that over 171 world leaders had met in New York, United States of America, 22 April 2016 to sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Agency reports had it that France was the first to sign the Agreement.
It was formed by Marshall Islands, Mauru, Palau, Somalia, State of Palestine, Barbados, Belize and Fiji.
Other signatories include Greenada, Saint Fitts and Nevis, Samoa, Tuualu Maldives, Saint Lucia, Maurtius, Peru, Democratic Republic of Congo, Bulvia Brazil, China, Canada and Italy.
Other countries are expected to sign the Agreement between now and October this year.
The Port Harcourt seminar was attended by cross section of dignitaries from both the public and private sectors.
Specifically at the event were representatives of the Institute of Pollution Studies, Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), Port Harcourt Centre for Conflict and Gender Studies, University of Port Harcourt, and the Centre for Development and Support Initiatives (CEDSI).
Also in attendance are the Rivers State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mrs Onimim Jacks representatives of the Ministries of Environment, Culture and Tourism, Information / Communication and Youth Development.
A documentary with The Theme: “No where to Run: Nigeria Climate And Environmental crisis” opened discussions at the conference.
The state commissioner for Agriculture, Mrs Onimim Jacks said that climate change poses a serious challenge to the state especially in the area of Agriculture.She said that the delay in the coming of the rains this year led to the suspension of planting activities by farmers in the state.
The commissioner added that because of the adverse effects of climate change on the state, her ministry is now encouraging more tree programmes across the state.“We are losing our forest resources to desert encroachment. Agriculture is one of the major causes of climate change because we have to deforest.
“We have to find a midway on how best to grow our feed” she said.
Also speaking, the Director Centre for Conflict and Gender Studies, University of Port Harcourt, Dr Fidelis Allen, querried the rationale behind the refusal of the Federal Government to critically examine some aspects of the draft policy in climate change which is already before the Ministry of Environment.
The university don insisted that the government, the petroleum industry and those involved in local refining of fuel need to respect our existence by being able to respond to climate change.
According to him, since the petroleum industry contributes more than 70 percent to climate change, the low urban industry must be made attractive to investors.
On his part, Dr Tubonimi Ideriah of the Institute of Pollution Studies, Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), Port Harcourt said that coastal communities are gradually sinking owing to the rising level of sea water.
He said that even people in the North are also experiencing the increasing rate of desert encroachment, adding that the situation should serve as a wake up call to the relevant Authroites to the something.
The university don who described this year as the hottest in recent times, called for drastic measurers to check deforestation.
Dr Ideriah also called on the government to wakeup to its responsibilities of implementing all laws relating to conservation in the country.
“There are enough laws, but the will to implement them is the problem” he said.
The country Director of the Centre for Development and and Support Initiatives (CEDSI), Mrs Mina Ogbanga querried the rationale behind the non domestication of the agreement by Nigerian Government.
Mrs Ogbanga said that the aspect of the Agreement which talked about the reduction of global temperature below 1.5 per cent must be imbibed by all countries.
She said that the increasing level of heart being experienced these days shows that the temperature is getting out of hand.
She also called for measures to address coastal erosion and flooding.
Speaking to newsmen, a director in the state Ministry of Information Communication, Mr Paulinus Nsirim said that what is needed at the moment is action.
He said that the era of talkshop should be gone for good, stressing that both Governments and members of the civil society must begin to act now to protect the environment from destruction.
The Director Alliance Francaise, Port Harcourt, Mrs Helene Geneuu Okutue, said that the Port Harcourt office of Alliance Francaise is the second to organize the climate change conference in the country.
She said that the conference was to create the needed awareness on the impact of climate change with a view to funding solutions to it.
The conference which participants said was coming at the right time, however observed that so long as industrialized countries such as the United States of America, Great Britain, China, Canada, Australia, amongst others, continue to rely on the fossil fuel industry to power their industries, the political will to implement the agreement will be lacking.
In all, the impact of climate change is here and the government must act now.
LG Council Moves To Rid Area Of Shanties
As part of measures to ride off Eleme Local Government Area of slums and shanties, the council has embarked on the demolition of all illegal structures and shanties.
Executive chairman of the council Hon. Oboritomate Ollor told newsmen during the demolition exercise that the situation was to restore sanity to the area.
Ollor said the proliferation of Shanties in the areas was becoming assort of embarrassment to the council, adding that some of the illegal structures also serve as hide outs to criminals in the areas.
According to him, the council has no choice than to support the effort of this late government to restore sanity to Eleme and its environs.
He said the exercise was never intended to witchhunt or targeted at any ethnic group, but to keep the area safe for investment and businesses to thrive the council boss said the security of lives and prosperity’s sanitation, education and human empowerment will be given due attention by his Administration as urged residents to support the fight against insecurity as no society development in the face of security challenges.
While commending Governor Nyesom Wike for his fight against criminality in the state, Ollor warned criminals to leave Eleme or face the full wrath of the law.
The operation started at Akpajo Junction and ended at Trailer Park.
By: John Bibor
NGO Mobilises Stakeholders To Plant Over 6m Trees In Kaduna
The Aid Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation, says it is mobilising relevant stakeholders to plant over six million trees in Kaduna State.
Mr Emmanuel Bonet, Executive Director of the Foundation said this on the sideline of a one-day engagement with relevant stakeholders in Kaduna on Friday.
Bonet said that the initiative was under a project tagged, “Green Peace.”
He told newsmen that the project was designed to promote peace, mitigate climate change, promote sanitation and hygiene and discourage open defecation.
Bonet said that the initiative was under a Public Private Partnership with relevant government agencies and private organisations.
He identified some of the government agencies as Kaduna State Facilities Management Agency, Kaduna State Ministry of Environment, Interfaith Mediation Centre, Kaduna State Peace Commission and Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs.
According to him, a good number of youths from predominantly Muslim community would go and plant trees in a predominantly Christian community and vice versa.
He said that in the two months, about 100,000 trees would be planted in public facilities, like banks, hospitals, schools, hospitals, and other public places.
Bonet said that before 2022, one million trees would be planted in strategic locations within Kaduna metropolis alone to promote peace.
“After this, we have a target of planting five million trees within the forests of Kagoro in Kaura Local Government Area (LGA), Afaka in Kudan LGA and Chikun, in Chikun LGA.
“These forests are already depleting due to massive deforestation by loggers, and in dire need of afforestation by planting trees.
“We are also working with renewable energy organisations to provide alternative sources of clean energy for people using wood to cook and for other businesses,” he said.
The executive director said that the Aid Foundation was equally working with government agencies and private organisations to provide toilet facilities in public places.
He said: “We are also hoping that toilets are going to be built in all public facilities like banks, supermarkets, hospitals, particularly at the entrance gate so that people can access them easily.
“This will go a long way in preventing open defecation in the state, particularly around public infrastructure and offices.
“Therefore, the engagement was to get the private organisations and government agencies to commit to making provisions for toilet facilities that will be accessible by members of the public.
“This will significantly tackle the problem of open defecation.”
DPO Donates Borehole To Rivers Community
Ogoloma Community in Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers State has commended the Divisional Police Officer incharge of the area, CSP Okoro Ikechukwu for the construction of a water bore hole in the community.
This was contained in a letter jointly signed by the Chairman and Secretary of the community, Chief Kunumgbe and Levi Alalibo, respectively.
The community said the gesture will go a long way to check the rate of water borne diseases in the area.
According to the letter, “Ogoloma community has accommodated other officers before, but we see CSP Okoro as a distinct officer with the zeal to make peace.
“Your recent role in installing drinking water for the community is a case study”, the statement said.
CSP Okoro Ikechukwu who responded to the letter in an interview with newsmen said the borehole will go a long way in checking water scarcity usually experienced in the community.
According to him, during his routine visit to the community he discovered that the people were facing serious challenge of water scarcity, adding with the help of God he decided to come to their rescue.
He said rendering assistance to the needy aside from security was borne out of passion.
The DPO call on the people to cooperate with the police in areas of information sharing, surveillance and intelligence.
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