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Civil Societies Want Communities’ Inputs In EIA Reports

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Civil Society Organisations and other stakeholders in the Niger Delta are seeking the inputs of oil producing and impacted communities in the production and formulation of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIAs) Reports on projects in their communities.
The stakeholders said this at a one-day state level training on Environmental, Social And Human Rights Impact Assessment (ESHRIAs) in the Niger Delta, organized by Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Nigeria, with support from Cordaid Netherlands in Port Harcourt.
They noted that most communities in the Niger Delta, especially those in remote areas have no idea of the negative impacts of projects in their areas.
The stakeholders also stressed the need for both the state and Federal Government to ensure that the rights of communities are enforced. In an overview of the Environmental Social and Human Rights Impacts Assessment (ESHRIAs) in the Niger Delta, the State Coordinator, Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Chiekwe described the Esthria process as a critical partner to help carry along the public for deepening and strengthening the process of ensuring that citizens’ rights especially communities are part of environmental impacts assessments in project design, implementation and government decisions.
Chiekwe said that the oil and gas region has long been a volatile area which has caused many deaths, degradation and unresolved crisis.
According to him, Esthria involves systematically, identifying, predicting and responding to potential human rights impacts of business operations, capital projects (oil, gas, solid minerals and other projects) trade agreement, government policies, community relations and protecting the civic space.
He further said that the PWYP intervention advocates that business operations follow the due diligence process.
“This can be summarised as community participation in the EIA process, companies especially the international oil companies involving communities in oil and gas management impacts on their communities and freedom to be part of the process”.
“Government at all levels involving communities in decision and policy making process, government, communities, international oil companies creating conducive environment for dialogue and continuous interface, while biodiversity audits every two year periodically in a participatory manner”, he said.
Chiekwe also said that the EIA Act Currently undergoing the process of amendment is a window of opportunity to get it right, adding that the different stakeholders should work together above personal, sectional and group interests to integrate community voice, inclusion of all concerned in the design and implementation of EIA and biodiversity audits.
On his part, a stakeholder, Mr. Clement Menedin said that elected leaders of the people should always take up the responsibility of enlightening their communities on EIA process with a view to getting their inputs into it.
Also speaking, the spokesman of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) Mr. Sunny Zorvah said that it’s criminal for companies to neglect their host communities in terms of projects.

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Environment

Stakeholders Want Implementation Of Waste Management Policy

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As Rivers State and Nigeria joined the rest of the world to celebrate the 2021 World Environment Day last Saturday, some civil society organisations have called for the implementation of the nation’s waste management policy.
They said this at a tree planting programme organised by African Clean-up Initiative, Rivers State Network, in collaboration with School of Environmental Health Technology, Rivers State College of Health Science and Management Technology and Junior Chamber International (JCI) in Port Harcourt Metro at the college premises in Port Harcourt.
Declaring the event open, the Dean, School of Environmental Health, Rivers State College of Health Science and Management Technology, Port Harcourt, Mr Cyprian Mbato said the event was to create awareness and insight of what the World Environment Day is all about.
“The World Environment Day is a day in which we spread awareness about the environment and the need to conserve it.
“Moreover, it is essential to advocate for a greener environment and conservation of nature”
According to him, the continuous sensitisation will enable future generations to lead a healthier life.
“It is essential for all to realise that every little deed matters when it comes to saving the environment.
“No matter how small, a step you are taking to lead a greener lifestyle, it does make a difference”, he said.
Also speaking, the Rivers State Chairman of Waste Management Society of Nigeria (WAMASON), Mr Benson Abu called for the restoration of the national ecosystem.
Abu also called for support for the national policy on solid waste management and the plastic waste management policy initiative and support for restoration or conservation initiative including cleaning up of a lake, beach, park and other national areas.
He also called for greening of homes, business, school or public space as professional members with indigenous trees or plants as well as halting products and services that are not environmentally friendly.
Also speaking, President Junior Chamber international, Port Harcourt Metro, Mr Martin Luther William said the celebration is important as it will help to create awareness on the importance of tree planting to protect the environment.
He stressed the need for members of the public to cultivate habits that are environmentally friendly.
Later in an interview, Rivers State team leader of African Clean-up Initiative, Rivers State Network, Miss Grace Belema Leonard said the organisation is working with a vision of planting one million trees in Africa to promote environmental sustainability across the continent.
She said over one 100 trees will be planted in Rivers State before 2025.

By: John Bibor

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Environment

Disquiet In Rivers Communities Over 2021 Flood Outlook

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There is disquiet in some Rivers State Communities over the 2021 flood outlook.
The Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NHISA) had predicted that some states in the country including Rivers State will experience coastal flooding this year.
Some of the communities particularly those along the Orashi River said the situation will spell doom for them as they are yet to overcome the damages caused by last year’s flooding.
Speaking in an interview with The Tide in Port Harcourt, the Eze Igbu Ubie of Ubie Kingdom Ahoada West Local Government area, Eze Augustine Maxwell Okpokiri said another flooding this year will spell doom for his people.
Okpokiri said his people are passing through hard times following the level of devastation caused by last year’s flood.
According to him, NHISA’s prediction has made his people to be agitated over the hardship that lies ahead if the prediction comes to pass.
He said a part from losing farmlands, buildings and other properties to flood, lives were also lost in his Kingdom.
Okpokiri said victims of the disaster have not received any help from any quarters.
He also blamed the Federal Government and its agencies for refusing to come to the aid of his people.
The Ubie monarch also urged the Federal Government to evolve measures that will put to rest the incessant flooding in the area.
Who spoke under condition of anonymity, said the experiences of last year must never repeat itself.
He urged the government to dredge the Orashi River to allow the free flow of waters.

By: John Bibor

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Environment

Environmental Pollution: 707 Plant Species Endangered In Nigeria – Expert

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Out of the 4,600 plant species, about 707 have been said to be endangered with hundreds of species since gone into extinction in Nigeria.
This is due largely to the loss of habitat occasioned by environmental degradation and climate change.
Professor of Plant Physiology at the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Prof Stephen Umunna Offor revealed this at the 25th Inaugural Lecture of the university held at the main campus, Rumuolumeni, Port Harcourt, recently.
Delivery the lecture with the theme, “The Grandeur of Plants; Our Life and our Environment”, Offor revealed that the international Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), has categorized our plants and animals in Nigeria as being endangered.
Offor who explained that an endangered species or plant is an organism or a population of organizing that faces a high risk of becoming extinct due to loss of its habitat, high death rate and changes in the environment and prey said that the death rate of the plants due to exploitation and deforestation outweigh their birth rate over a period of time now.
Offor stated that every species and factors serve an important purpose in the community maintaining that plants, which serve as the primary producers play the major role in any ecological system by providing the primary source of food and oxygen as well as purifying the environment for the entire system.
The plant professor regretted however that the activities of ATPhase which functions to transport variety of different compounds like ions and phospholipids for energy in the environment have been adversely affected by environmental stress arising from toxicity of petroleum hydrocarbon.
He said “in Nigeria, the destruction rate of the environment has so far exceeded the breeding and recovering rate that the situation can only be come proper environmental education and training of the masses.”
While noting that the human life was dependent on plant, offor stressed the need for every stakeholder including the government and industrial organizations to owe it as a duty to protect any plant in the Nigeria environment and ensure their survival under stress and abnormal condition.

By: Lady Godknows Ogbulu

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