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UNDP Moves To Protect Forests In Andoni …Plans Elephants’ Cluster

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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is proposing some measures to check the increasing rate of elephants and human conflicts in Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Some of the proposed measures include the creation of an elephant sanctuary in the area, provision of adequate training to some selected youths in the area with a view to guarding the forests against the activities of poachers as well as sensitising the communities to regard the animals as one of their heritage.
An elephant biologist and a consultant to the UNDP, John Msheltbewala said at a training session in Ngo, headquarters of Andoni Local Government Area, that the increasing rate of urbanisation on the Andoni mainland was bound to bring conflict between elephants and communities in the area.
Msheltbewala also decried the destructive activities of the Nipa palm in the area, stressing that though the palm will always occupy a place, it will not contribute meaningfully to the increase of the elephant population and other wildlife.
The expert stressed the need for the Andoni Local Government Council to enact by-laws that will designate some parts of the area as wildlife sanctuary for endangered species.
According to him, the local government council must also train and develop the capacities of the local communities to enforce the by-laws.
“Create awareness in the value of biodiversity conservation and environmental protection among communities. Promote wildlife, cultural and ecosystem conservation tourism,” he said.
Also speaking, a retired forestry officer with the Bayelsa State Ministry of Agriculture, Amoru George Waripabo said that since 1992, when the population of elephants in the Island was put at 46, the number has continued to decline due to the activities of poachers.
Chief Waripabo said that he was sent by the Government of old Rivers State to contain elephants aggression in the area in 1992.
He said that the expedition led to the destruction of two elephants, stressing that the conflict can be reduced if the UNDP’s proposal for the creation of an elephant sanctuary is implemented.
According to him, Andoni Local Government Area with 124sq km will find it difficult to contain the elephant population, stressing that the local government council must do everything necessary to maintain the elephant population.
The retired forestry officer described the Andoni elephant forest as an untapped treasure.
“The fact is that elephants need more areas. 124sq km is not enough for 46 elephants. Elephants are not trouble makers. Andoni is already sitting on treasures,” he said.
Also speaking, a retired forestry officer with the Rivers State Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Elijah A. Leh said that since previous administrations in the state had failed to put in place measures towards preserving the elephants, it now behoves the people to take up the challenge of preserving the animals for their unborn generations.
Mr. Leh, who spoke on community-based conservation approach, said that several communities stand to benefit from the programme.
He thanked UNDP for bringing the programme to the community level and urged the communities to key into the programme with a view to improving their capacities and their economies.
Some of the participants that included Awajimam Jonah Ogwuokwa from Ngo, Lambert Wilfred from Okoroboile, Sam Benoni Thompsom from Agana town and others described the training as timely, adding that it has helped them to know that elephants are not enemies to mankind, but treasures to be preserved for future generations.

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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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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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