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Sustaining Wildlife In Niger Delta

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The United Nations De
velopment Programme (UNDP) last year embarked on series of programmes to save the Niger Delta biodiversity resources from extinction.
The programme by the UNDP, no doubt is in line with the just concluded  2016 World Environment Day celebration.
It will be recalled that, the theme, for this year’s World Environment Day celebration was, “Fight Against Illegal Wildlife Trade” and the slogan is “Go Wild”.
The World Environment Day celebration was initiated by the United Nation (UN) to give a human face to environmental issues as well as empower people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development.
It will be noted that the theme for this year’s celebration follows the alarming rate of illegal   wildlife trade across the world.
A release from the United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) a copy obtained by The Tide, described wildlife trade as the commerce of products that are derived from non domesticated   animals, eg plants usually extracted from their natural environment or raised under controlled conditions.
“It can involve the trade of living or dead individuals, tissues such as skins, bones or meat or other products”.
It must be noted that legal wildlife trade is regulated by the United  Nations convention on International Trade on Endangered Species of Wild fora and fara  (CITES) with 170 member countries  including Nigeria called parties.
Although illegal wildlife trade may not be common in the Niger Delta, but other environmental conditions have impacted negatively on the continuous existence of wildlife in Rivers State and other parts of the Niger Delta.
Available information obtained from civil society organizations indicates that environmental factors such as, oil pollution deforestation, bush burning and others have contributed to wildlife migration from the Niger Delta.
Some of the wildlife which are on the verge of extinction in the region are, the Niger Delta colobus, proco lobusepreni type of Red Monkey found in Nembe, Bayelsa State, the Hippopotamus, common in Bonny river but rarely seen these days, the Boa constrictor in Andoni and the Elephants also in Andoni.
Also on the verge of extinction are the Tortoise in Alode forest,  Eleme, the Gorillas in Ogoni and even the periwinkles and the oyelsters.
The Commissioner for Environment,  River State, Professor (Mrs) Roseline Konya, said that the state government will take some steps to preserve some of these wildlife from extinction. The commissioner, who delivered her address, during the celebration, said that government will also sensitise, various stakeholders, particularly, the public and private sector, the students, the teachers, the academia, the investors, civil society organisations (CSOs) non-governmental organisations the market women and men to make their input in the fight against illegal wildlife trade as stakeholders in one way or the other.
Professor Konya also said that, the government will evolve containment measures for the Elephants in the Andoni forest.
According to her, “in the Niger Delta and indeed Rivers State in areas like Oyoroketo,  Illotombi Aywut, Obolo in Andoni local government area, elephants we are told move around  in communities, sometimes ravaging crops of farmers.
“The ministry will collaborate with NGOs to contain these animals, attempting to preserve them” she said. The commissioner said that Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike has approved the relocation of the Port Harcourt Zoo from Trans/Amadi to Greater Port Harcourt, while the present location will be turned to amusement park.
The National Second Vice President of the Waste Management Society of Nigeria (WAMASON) Envoy  Sodienye A. Abere, described the celebration as unique in view of its relationship with wildlife.
Envoy Sodienye said that all international and local laws designed to curb illegal wildlife trade be implemented  especially in the Niger Delta to save wildlife in the region from extinction.
“This year’s motto, “Go Wild for Life” is apt. Yes we need to be wild (which is the original nature) to save life”, he said.
For the chairman, Environmental Management Association of Nigeria Rivers State chapter, Chief Sao Selako, the world has a duty to protect our environment wildlife for sustainability.
Other environmentalist sits who also commented on the issue described wildlife as a part of existence that must be protected, stressing that for this to be achieved, the leadership must muster enough political will to implement laws relating to wildlife conservation.
The move by the Rivers State Government to protect wildlife in the state is a commendable one and efforts must be made to ensure its success.

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Environment

LG Council Moves To Rid Area Of Shanties

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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

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Environment

NGO Mobilises Stakeholders To Plant Over 6m Trees In Kaduna

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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.”

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Environment

DPO Donates Borehole To Rivers Community

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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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