Awkuzu Stree in the Mile One axis of Diobu, Port Harcourt witnessed a busy moment last Saturday as the residents embarked on the desilting of drainages in the area.
When The Tide correspondent who visited the area on Saturday said the people were seen in their large numbers clearing sand and refuse dumped in the drainages. Some residents had their portions cleaned Friday night.
Speaking to this journalist, the chairman, Environmental Sanitation committee on the Cleaning of Drainages at the street, Pastor Clement Emenike explained that the residents were worried over the volume of water and sand in the drainages which caused flooding during rains, hence they embarked on the project.
According to Emenike, a landlord in the street, “our stress gets flooded whenever it rains and water gets into people’s rooms and shops because the gutters are over-filled with sand and refuse, so we decided to set up a committee that tasked the residents huge amount of money for the desilting and evacuation of the sand and refuse”.
He commended the landlords, caretakers and tenants of the street for their cooperation and understanding, describing the exercise as a huge success as they came out enmasse while urging the government to ensure the regular cleaning of drainages in the Port Harcourt metropolis.
Also speaking to The Tide, a caretaker of one of the buildings, Comrade Henry Braide expressed to gratitude to the entire people participated in the exercise which described as excellent.
“The exercise is excellent and I am very impressed by the large turnout of the residents. We know that government alone cannot do everything for the people hence we decided to embark on the project which cost us huge money and energy. We are also aware that it is a government project”, he emphasized and called on the government to encourage the people to enable them continue to support, especially in environmental sanitation to maintain the Garden City status of Port Harcourt.
Another caretaker, Mr. Rakirima Horsfall told The Tide that when members of the Drainage Cleaning Committee approached officials of the Rivers State Waste Management Agency (RIWAMA) on the exercise, they were allegedly asked to pay N350,000, pointing out that “we had to resort to hiring some Hausa boys who assisted us since we could not afford to pay the amount demanded by RIWAMA officials.
In his reaction, another caretaker, Mr Michael Friday hailed the courage and determination of the Awkuzu Street (middle) residents and urged the government recognize their effort as it is the duty of the RIWAMA to evacuate refuse and clean the drainages, and ensure that the state capital is clean.
Tonye Fubara, a caretaker also spoke to this newsmen, recalling that residents of the street had been carrying out the exercise since 2004, adding that it has been a big task each time they wanted to do it and called for government’s support as “we always find ourselves in a pathetic situation whenever it rains”.
On his part, Mr Chike Obi, who led a RIWAMA supervisory team on flood control to the area commended the Awkuzu Street residents for their effort and promised that he would send the report to the appropriate quarters for reward.
We’re Hopeful Of Passage Of Water Resources Bill -Minister
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.
Community Residents Flay Dumping Of Sachets, Bottles In Drainages
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
UNESCO Laments Impending Collapse Of Biodiversity …Says Human Survival At Risk
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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