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Foundation Holds Dialogues In Rivers Communities

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Health of Mother Earth
Foundation (HOMEF), an environmental focused Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) has carried out community dialogues in two communities in Rivers State.
The communities are Erema in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area and Goi in Gokana LGA.
The Director of HOMEF, Rev Nnimmo Bassey said the dialogues  aimed at raising awareness and seeking community driven solutions to existing environmental challenges.
Representatives from communities in Erema and Goi participated in the sessions tagged “Community Dialogues” which ended last Thursday.
Speaking at the opening ceremony at Erema, Rev Bassey noted that the dialogues are planned for community members to review environmental situations of their communities.
He explained that HOMEF plans to take the community dialogues to other oil producing communities across the Niger Delta region.
The interaction, according to him will also identify needed areas of action to preserve and defend the common heritage of the people of the region.
“Demands for stewardship in relation to how we relate to the gifts of nature are sometimes regarded as affront to political power weilders and corporate entities.
“These political power wielders lay claim to ownership of our lands, waters and several gifts that nature has endowed us with”, he said.
Further, he said these political players were concerned with how to grab votes without telling the people what they would do with the very thing that supports the lives and livelihood of the people.
“ The parties proclaim transformation and change.  We have seen change.  We are living in change.
“Our waters have been changed into polluted and heavily toxic soups. Our air hangs heavy with noxious fumes.
“The truth is that we have got to the point where we can hardly breath”, he said.
Also speaking, a labour activist and community leader in Erema, Mr Che Ibegwura urged the people to improve their natural habitat which remained their source of life.
He expressed regret that the violent activities against the environment had continued unabated for decades.
Ibegwura explained that this had resulted in poor yields from farm lands and declining quality of life in oil bearing communities.
In his speech, the Ochi Oha of Erema, Chief Odeyi commended HOMEF for building the capacity of the people to protect its environmental assets.
He urged the people to apply the knowledge gained from the sessions in ecological monitoring and defense for the well-being of the community.

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Environment

Edo Community Drags Abattoir Owner To Court Over Environmental Pollution

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Ikpoba Slope Community in Ikpoba Okha Local Government area of Edo State has dragged Mrs Sarah Uwaifor, owner of an abattoir located at Ohen-Ore in the community to a Benin Chief Magistrate Court over alleged environmental pollution in the community.
In a suit number MOGB/56/2021, Mr Ken Omusi and Mr Kenneth Imafidon, on behalf of Ikpoba Youth Development Association and other inhabitants of the community claimed that the cow dungs and waste excreta from the defendant’s abattoir were dumped in the community as well as burning of cow hair and skin constitute nuisance in the area.
They alleged that the community had tried to persuade her to abate the nuisance but she did not listen to them.
The plaintiff is seeking a declaration of the court that allowing the burning of cow hair, roasting of cow head and dump of cow excreta and dungs in the community constitute health hazards to the inhabitants of the community.
They also prayed for perpetual injunction restraining the defendant, her servants, agents, or workers at the abattoir from dumping cow excreta, roasting cow head and dumping cow dung along the street of the community.
The community are also seeking N5 million general damages from the defendant for the nuisance she has been and still constituting in the area.
The defendant after listening to charges in court pleaded not guilty while the counsel of the plaintiff and defendant Chief Abayomi Thomas and E I. Otabor respectively asked the court to fix a date for hearing.
Chief Magistrate Prince Mutairu Oarhe, consequently, adjourned the case to January 11, 2022, for hearing.

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Environment

Oyo Tribunal Fines 60 Persons For Allegedly Violating Environmental Laws

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Oyo State Environmental Tribunal court has fined no fever than 60 persons over various sanitation infractions.
The Tide source reports that 60 people were fined for allegedly flouting the state’s environmental sanitation laws during sanitation on Saturday.
The Tide reports that the violators were fined at Bodija, Iwo-road, Beere, Sapati, Elewi-Odo, Ojoo, Gate, Oke-bola and other locations in Ibadan.
Magistrate, Mr. Raheem Wasiu in his judgment, said the offenders were caught dumping refuse in unauthorised areas and are guilty of violating the environmental sanitation and waste management laws.
He charged the violators a fine of between ¦ 5,000 and ¦ 25,000 for their offences.
Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Mr. Abiodun Oni, in his remarks, commended the Magistrate for his professionalism.
He added that the present administration in the state, will not leave any stone unturned towards regaining the environmental sanity in the state.
“No matter how we take care of our environment, it usually has an impact on every stakeholder’s health and as soon as we enforce the law, it goes a long way in making the state a healthy one.
“Oyo State is a pacesetter state, a state we should be proud of and strive in making it safe and healthy for all and sundry”.

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Environment

Revive Forest Reserves, Expert Urges RSG

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Worried over the depleting natural resources caused by land prospectors and poachers, Professor of Biodiversity in the Rivers State University, Geofrey Akaniwor has made an appeal to the state government to revive forest conservation.
Akaniwor in an interview with The Tide stated that over five forest reserves in the state are endangered as they have been abandoned over the years.
Among the forest reserves now endangered include  Lower Orashi in Abua/Odual Local Government Area and parts of Kalabari; Upper Orashi in Abua/Odual, Sombreiro Reserve located in parts of Ikwerre and Ahoada Local Government Areas, Otamiri Reserve sited in  Ikwerre and Etche Local Government Areas.
Others are Upper Imo River Reserve in Etche and Daen or Lower Imo River Reserve in Khana Local Government Area.
He also urged that the Andoni Forest Reserve which harbours the remaining forest elephants and hippos in the state should be given attention as well.
The university teacher said forest reserves help promote biodiversity and resource protection warning that endangered species play huge role in sustaining life and stability of the environment.
Besides, he was of the view that conservation can help provide jobs and tourism as government can employ rangers who will be trained to guard those forests from being encroached upon.
Meanwhile, Prof. Akaniwor has recommended that the Port Harcourt Zoological Garden(Zoo) be relocated to more expansive and serene location.
He said the site where the zoo is now has been overtaken by urbanisation and that safety of animals are not safe in such environment
Akaniwor suggested that the zoo can be relocated to either Oyibo Local Government Area by the fringes of Imo River or to Etche where there more expansive land for such facility.

By: Kevin Nengia & Excellent Omehoma

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