The Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), has warned of another round of crisis in Ogoniland, if the Federal Government does not fast-track the cleanup process.
President of MOSOP, Legborsi Pyagbara who dropped the warning at the just concluded 24th Ogoni Martyrs Day celebration in Port Harcourt described the pace of the clean-up process as frustrating.
Pyagbara who also described the environmental crisis in Ogoniland as a huge humanitarian disaster said the slow nature of the exercise is not a reflective of the humanitarian response.
“The slow nature of the current efforts are not reflective of a humanitarian response and is becoming for more frustrating and have the capacity to ignite a new round of conflict in Ogoniland if nothing is done immediately.
The MOSOP president also reminded the Federal Government that Ken Saro-Wiwa and to other Ogoni martyrs laid down their lives because of the environmental pollution of Ogoniland.
According to him, “while MOSOP appreciates the efforts of the government to end the environmental nightmare in Ogoni, the intervention approach must be seen from the perspective of a humanitarian response to a dying community which would require that administrative structures and bottlenecks be removed to speed up actions and activities.
“Judged against other humanitarian interventions going on in the country such as the North-East intervention in which new houses and infrastructures are springing up on a daily basis without noise-making and publicity stunts associated with the Ogoni intervention, we fear that the manacles and vestiges of discrimination for which these heros laid down their lives are still with us” he said.
Also speaking, the representatives of Hydrocarbon Pollution, Remediation Project (HYPREP) at the occasion, Isa Wasa, said HYPREP is determined to fulfill the key demand of the Ogonis which is environmental cleanup.
Isa Wasa who represented Marvin Dekil, HYPREP coordinator at the event said 39 Ogoni youths are being trained in Health Safety and Environment, while Ogoni scientists have been flown to Geneva for further training in environmental remediation.
He said the commission is engaging various stakeholders in Ogoniland with a view to providing potable drinking water to Ogoni communities.
Stakeholders Identify Cause Of Open Defecation’s High Rate …Fingers Lack Of Toilet Facilities
As Rivers State and Nigeria joined the rest of the world to mark the World Toilet Day, some stakeholders in Rivers State are blaming the high rate of open defecation on the lack of toilet facilities in strategic locations across the state.
A cross section of stakeholders, who spoke to, The Tide correspondents on the issue said “most public and private places have no toilet facilities, stressing that the situation makes some people to defecate in the open.
They stressed the need for the government and private sectors to provide toilet facilities in places such as markets, parks, schools, stadia, among others.
They also called for sensitization on the negative effects of open defecation.
On his part, Mr. Innocent Ezekiel, a food vendor at Mile I flyover said “people at the park need to be enlightened on why they should not defecate openly, adding that inspite of the fact that there was a toilet facility, people at the Park go about defecating openly.
According to him, it is very disheartening to see people around the park go about defecating openly when they know very well that there is a public toilet around the Park.
Also speaking, another trader Mr Ifeanyi Ugwu, said: “open defecation brings discomfort, stressing that there is a need for people to be sensitised to know that indiscriminate disposal of faeces can lead to cholera, diahorea, typhoid and other diseases.
Also speaking, Mr Innocent Okorie, called for a law that will punish defecating in the open. According to him, most health related issues have been linked to open defecation stressing that time has come for the government to go tough on those who defecate openly.
For Michael Prince, he stated thus: The government should provide toilets at every corner. “the reason why people defecate around this area is because the government did not provide any toilet facility.”
On his part, Mr James Friday, called for collaboration between the state government and the various local government councils in the provision of toilet facilities across the state.
Friday also stressed the need for high level sensitization in the riverine local government areas with a view to persuading the people to change their habit of defecating into the river.
Also speaking, Chukwuemeka Iruozo, said the sooner Rivers State key into the clean Nigeria programme, the better will be for the society.
Iruozo also called for stiffer penalties for persons who embark in open defecation.
By: Chioma Miracle Peters & Odinakachi Oko
World Toilet Day: Akulga To End Open Defecation By 2023
The Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State says it will end open defecation in all communities in the area by 2023.
The Council Chairman, Hon. Roland Sekibo, said this in Abonnema headquarters of the local government council, during the 2019 World Toilet Day celebration in the area.
Sekibo who was represented by the vice chairman of the council, Mrs Carolina West, said the council is committed towards ending open defecation in the area.
According to him, as part of the commitment, a bill to criminalise open defecation has been sent to the local government legislative assembly.
The council also sponsored students from the area to the national open defecation quiz competition in which the students came with flying colours.
In her keynote address, the wife of the council chairman, Mrs Binaebi Sekibo said ending open defecation in the area will lead to a 36 per cent reduction in death especially among children under five years of age.
Mrs Sekibo represented by Hon. Tobins Tobins said the council can also end open defecation by stopping the construction of new pier latrines and dismantling the existing ones, through the construction of eco-friendly latrines.
According to her; ending this practice would transform the lives of women and girls, who face the daily indignity of finding somewhere to go each day for their basic needs, risking sexual harassment and abuse for not having a toilet.
“We will change the lives for the many girls who abandon schools due to the lack of basic menstrual hygiene and sanitation activities” she said.
She however expressed hope that with the progress made so far, the area would soon become Open Defecation Free (ODF).
“We are making progress. Communities such as; Obonnoma, Soku, Elem Sungama, Offoin Ama and Idama have been declared open defecation free courtesy of UNICEF-NDSP,” “she said.
Also speaking, the General Manager of the Rivers State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation agency (RUWASSA), Mr. Napoleon Adah, thanked the council or the effort to make AKULGA open defecation free.
Adah, who was represented by Mrs Safe Hart said the celebration was to ensure that no one is left behind.
According to him, it is a celebration to promote good hygiene practices, stressing that time has come for everyone’s in the area to key into the campaign.
Earlier, the coordinator of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) unit AKULGA, Mrs Ifeoma Nwogu, said children and youths are worst affected by inadequate sanitation and open defecation.
While thanking the council chairman for the event, Nwogu stressed the need for the celebration to be held annually in the area.
Rivers Environment, Ogoni Clean-Up Top Discussions At Correspondents’ Week
Rivers State Environment, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Report and Ogoni clean-up will top discussions at the 2019 Press Week of the Correspondent Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
This was contained in a statement, jointly signed by Ignatius Chukwu, Chairman, organising committee and Ernest Chinwo, Chairman correspondent Chapel of the NUJ.
According to the statement, the theme of the week is: ‘Role of Media in the Rivers Environment.’
This is expected to help us take closer look at environment issues and examine our role in fighting for a better environment.” it said.
The opening ceremony of the week is expected to hold today, Port Harcourt at the Hotel Presidential, with Ibofiri Bobmanuel, Chief Executive Officer, Bobmanuel Tractor Limited as chairman.
An environmental rights activist, Celestine Akpobari will deliver a technical paper on Rivers Environment, while Dr. Ferdinand Giadom, an environment expert from the University of Port Harcourt, will review the paper.
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