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NEMA Provides Relief Materials To Flood-Ravaged Communities

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The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) South-South zone has provided relief materials worth millions of naira to flooding, pipeline vandalisation and explosion, landslide and communal conflict ravaged communities in the zone.
South-South coordinator of the Agency, Mr Walson Brandon who stated this at a media briefing in Port Harcourt said local governments affected in Rivers State include, Obio/Akpor, Oyigbo and Khana Local Government Areas respectively.
Brandon also listed flood at communal conflicts ravaged communities in Akwa/Ibom and Cross Rivers State as beneficiaries.
He listed items donated to include, bags of rice, beans, garri, vegetable oil, mattresses and blankets.
The rest are: bags of cement, roofing sheets and ceiling boards.
The NEMA coordinator said the briefing was to intimate the emergency management committee on recent development with a view to prepare adequately to reduce the impact posed by disasters and emergency situations.
According to him, “disasters such as flooding, pipeline vandalism, pipeline explosion, landslide, communal conflict ravaged communities across the South/South zone in the past six months.
“Recovery efforts by the agency has led to the provision of relief materials ranging from bags of rice, beans, garri, vegetable oil, mattresses, blankets, bags of cement, roofing sheets and ceiling boards to communities in Obio/Akpor, Oyigbo and Khana local government areas respectively.
Brandon further said; “following the NMET Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) for 2020, efforts are being made in collaboration with Rivers State Ministries of Environment, Special Duties and Works to intensify preparedness.”
According to him, “mapping of flood prone LGAs and communities is presently on-going, sensitization and enlightenment of first respondents in LGAs to adopt the Incident Communal System (ICS) for rapid response is also going on,” he said.
On the coronavirus pandemic, he said the Agency is collaborating with Ministries of Health and Information in the respective states to step up preparedness and response activities.
“The Agency is also collaborating with WHO to provide essential medical supplies to states in the South South zone,” he said.

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Environment

That FG’s Proposed Mechanised Farming

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When the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Mohammad Nanono, not too long ago, said that the Federal Government will begin an agricultural mechanisation programme in 632 out of the 774 local government areas in the country, many cynics simply dismissed the initiative as another political gimmick that may not stand the test of time.
Some critics contend that, like other agricultural and rural development schemes in the past, Operation Feed the Nation (OFN) of General Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime, Shehu Shagari’s Green Revolution, General Ibrahim Babangida’s Directorate of Food, Roads, and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI), Rivers Basin Development Authorities, among others, the proposed mechanised farming may also end up the same way. Good reasoning!
Sadly, Nigeria’s efforts at boosting the agricultural and rural development sector had been bedeviled by policy somersaults and inconsistency in policy implementation and this had been the bane of the nation’s overall development, especially in the post-Civil War Nigeria.
It is against this backdrop, The Tide is worried that few months after the pronouncement was made, the new mechanised farming initiative under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is yet to commence.
Though the minister fell short of naming the 632 local government areas that will benefit, we strongly believe that, as he rightly said, the scheme would ensure that Nigeria achieves food security, job creation and economic growth in the near future.
“The initiative is expected to involve a full technology transfer package that would cover all stages, from agricultural production to industrial processing and marketing. It will also fully equip each of the LGAs with administration and information technology workshop”, the minister affirmed.
He added: “Each LGA will have service centres and each centre will have brand new tractor fully equipped with admin and IT workshop and also stores for seeds, fertilizer and excess produce and farmers will be linked to processing industries”.
Assuring that government will guarantee the mechanisation process and services, the minister enjoined individuals and groups to come with proposals on how to manage the service centres that will provide jobs and boost food production and food security across the country.
While we endorse the initiative, we expect the Federal Government to have taken initial step by engaging all critical stakeholders in ensuring that the scheme takes off smoothly and is given the desired impetus in its implementation.
Most experts believe that the problem with Nigeria is not about policy formulation but implementation. Nigeria’s economy in the past five decades has largely depended on oil and gas, with little or no deliberate efforts made to diversify the economic base.
Over reliance on the hydrocarbon industry has been a major challenge of our national development and well-meaning Nigerians and friends of Nigeria think that agriculture and agro-like industries remain the best option to follow.
It will not only provide employment for the teeming unemployed citizens but go a long way in solving the security challenge currently staring the country in the face.
The Tide thinks that agriculture has the capacity for turning the nation’s economy around and lifting the country that is virtually stagnated on many fronts; infrastructural deficit, poor education and health facilities, insecurity, poverty, among others.
Perhaps, many will think that mechanised farming in 623 local government areas may be too ambitious for a government that is battling with so much challenges; terrorism, banditry, unemployment, militancy, poverty rate, among others, all that is required is the political will and commitment to weather the storm.
Adequate funding simply is the right way to go and government must, as a matter of expediency, map out a clear-cut road map to achieve the desired goal.
It will not also be out of place to involve the Organised Private-Sector (OPS) through Public Private Partnership (PPP) because in civilised climes such initiatives are usually private-sector driven. This programme must not be politicised if it is actually intended for good.

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Dead Fishes:Environment Groups Demand Palliatives For Bonny Residents

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Two environment groups in Nigeria, the Bonny Environment Consultant Committee (BECC) and the Association of Environmental Lawyers of Nigeria, have decried the devastating impact of the massive dead fishes floating along the Bonny coastline in Rivers State which they say have destroyed economic lives of the inhabitants of the area, with a call for the provision of palliatives to them.
The groups which made their position known in separate interviews with The Tide in Port Harcourt said it was not enough to unravel the causes of the dead fishes on the coastline but that there was the need to provide palliatives to the people whose livelihoods have been adversely affected by the ugly incident.
The Chairman of Bonny Environment Consultant Committee, Prof. Sodeinye Abere, who described the incident as disturbing, said on confirming the veracity of the massive dead fishes on the Bonny coastline, his committee directed the people to stop harvesting, buying and eating fishes for now, thereby temporarily putting on hold their means of livelihoods.
According to him, “the stench of the dead fishes alone is very, very disturbing. Ordinarily, the coastline dwellers enjoy the cosy breeze that comes in and refreshes their bodies. It is no more the case. More than that, with the Coronavirus issue restricting people’s movement, again, the ordinary Bonny man can go behind of his house at the creek and fetch fish to subsist with, but he cannot do that any more. The economic load now would be so much on the ordinary natives.”
To cushion the effects of this seeming disruption of the people’s socio-economic wellbeing, Prof. Abere said there was the need to provide palliatives to them. “Palliative measures are also solicited because our people waiting to die of Coronavirus should be alive first”, he said.
He pointed out that there was also the need not to only investigate the circumstances surrounding the dead fishes but also the physiochemical properties of the water where the fishes live, stressing that if not properly handled, the situation can become a pandemic in Nigeria.
On his part, the President of the Association of Environmental Lawyers of Nigeria, Dr Samuel Chisa Dike said the body was disturbed by the development and urged the Federal Government to treat the issue the same way it is treating the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dike, an Associate Professor of Energy and Environment Law at the Rivers State University, stressed the need for critical stakeholders to work together to address the issue.
“ You never can tell who has consumed this specie of fishes since one month now. And we want to be sure that government is sensitised about it, because there is the tendency to tell the people about the danger of consuming the fishes but another thing is what happens to their economic lives?”, he queried.

 

By: Donatus Ebi

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Environment

COVID-19: Man O’ War Distributes Hand Sanitisers To Eneka Residents

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The Rivers State Command of the “Man O’ War” Nigeria has distributed thousands of hand sanitisers to residents of Eneka and other communities in the Obio/Akpor Local Government Area.
The State Commandant of the paramilitary organisation, Barrister Dignity N. Nwieke, told newsmen during a sensitisation programme on the coronavirus pandemic in Eneka that, the move was to complement the effort of the State Government at checking the spread of the disease to the state.
Barrister Nwieke said the sensitisation programme which started in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area will be taken round the 23 local government areas.
According to him, as a responsible organisation the Man O’ War will not wait for the Rivers State Government to shoulder the burden of checking the spread of the disease alone, stressing that the organisation must play its part in ensuring that Rivers State is coronavirus free.
The State Commandant also called on other organisations and agencies to assist the state governor towards combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Governor Wike is trying. He needs the support of everybody to succeed,” he said.
Nwieke also called on the people of Eneka and other communities to maintain the highest level of personal hygiene, by washing their hands regularly with soap and running water, avoiding handshakes and keeping their environment clean.
He also called for support to the paramilitary organisation.
Some beneficiaries of the hand sanitisers commended the organisation for the gesture.

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