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Ministry Proposes 12-Month Action Plan On Sanitation

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The Federal Ministry of Water Resources has proposed a 12-month emergency action plan to scale up access to sanitation and hygiene services in the country’s public spaces.
This was part of the recommendations at the end of a National Retreat on Revitalisation of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), made available to newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday.
The plan showed that by 2030, every Nigerian would have access to safely managed sanitation and hygiene facilities in cities, small towns, and rural communities.
The plan also stipulates that state and local governments enforce existing building codes and related legislation regarding the minimum number of sanitation facilities required for buildings and facilities.
This would also ensure that where such existing codes and legislations were inadequate, new codes would be drafted and enacted.
In an interview the Director, Water Quality Control and Sanitation, Mr Emmanuel Awe, said there was the need for all tiers of government to institutionalise sanitation as a counterpart to water supply.
The director asserted that ignoring sanitation would be detrimental to the wellbeing of the citizenry.
He expressed regret that most policies and programmes from previous administration was solely on water supply, adding that budgeting for sanitation was important to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
“Sanitation cannot be ignored, it is a silent killer. Nigeria can reduce its disease burden by making access to water and sanitation a priority.
“We need to wake up to the reality to advocate for more funding to scale up sanitation and hygiene before the end of the SDGs.”
He said Nigeria could reduce its disease burden with a working sanitation action plan in place, adding that no fewer than 46 million people practice open defecation in the country.
According to him, no fewer than 2.4 million deaths occur annually from poor sanitation, and stressed the need to improve hygiene education to promote behaviour change toward reducing open defecation practices.
He said there was also the need for all stakeholders to wake up to advocate for more funding for sanitation and hygiene.
Awe noted that Nigeria needed three times the present funding for scaling up sanitation, which he said amounted to about 1.3 per cent of its annual Gross Domestic Product.
He disclosed that the ministry was developing a Sanitation Value Chain Strategy to promote investment in addressing the near absence of wastewater and fecal sludge in Nigeria.
This strategy, he said, would include the promotion of innovative technologies that reuse treated fecal sludge and wastewater into economically-viable byproducts, such as fertilisers, bio-gas, and water for irrigation.
He said the ministry was putting measures in place to launch a national campaign to end open defecation in June, 2018 to create awareness on its dangers and what can be done to reverse the trend.
According to him, the ministry is also working to fast-track the ongoing development of the National Policy on Urban Sanitation, which will be approved and disseminated by August. (NAN)

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Climate Change: Senate Seeks Broader Action To Tackle Gas Emission

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President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, last Tuesday called for broader action to reduce gas emission, being one of the major pollutants contributing to climate change in Nigeria.
Lawan made the call at the opening of a two-day National Green Summit on climate change organised by the Senate Committee on Ecology and Climate Change in Port Harcourt.
The theme of the event is “Collective Action for Gas Emission Reduction and Climate Change Mitigation in Nigeria: A Call to Action.”
Represented by Sen. Frank Ibezim, Imo North Senatorial District, Lawan said the Federal Government was fully focused on tackling climate change head-on, and as such, had set its zero emissions target by 2060.
“So, I am pleased to be part of this summit organised as an interactive platform for stakeholders in the private and public sectors, to engage on the critical issue of climate change.
“The interaction is coming at a time of increasing need for greater attention to questions about our environment, the importance of gas and the need to develop a carbon market framework.
“The development of a framework is part of a continuing quest to harness the benefits of nature to improve living standards,” he said.
Lawan said the summit would also discuss and proffer solutions on how to reduce greenhouse gas emission in line with the National Determined Contributions.
According to him, the summit will also look into the inclusion of the United Nations Framework Conventions on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the National Environmental Policy (NEC), and the Paris Rulebook from COP 26.
“Examining possibilities from these efforts is helpful to growing our scope of actions; trusting in our collective ability to expand our understanding and charting new frontiers towards initiating new or more policy frameworks.
“The summit will subject issues to further technical scrutiny, before a possible recourse to the legislature either to enhance the Climate Change Act or to imagine future regulatory mechanisms.
“These endeavours amount to prioritising consultations, involvements and inclusions in both climate change governance and matters that have short, medium and long-term implications for the people and society,” he added.
The senate president said the legislature was looking forward to receiving and deliberating on resolutions adopted at the two-day summit, to chart a better climate change framework.
On his part, Sen. Lawal Anka, Chairman, Senate Committee on Ecology and Climate Change, said that Nigeria was currently ranked among the 10 highest gas emitting countries in the world.
He said the country had been hard-hit by climate change as witnessed in the rapidly drying of the Lake Chad Basin as well as the climate-induced conflicts in the country.
“So, this summit will harness ideas on possible legislative interventions, to ensure that Nigeria meets her commitments under the Paris agreement on gas emission reduction.
“We have assembled eminent scholars and practitioners, captains of relevant industries, relevant agencies of government, civil society groups, and other stakeholders to brainstorm on the various sub-themes of the summit,” he said. (NAN)

 

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Flood Engulfs Communities In ONELGA

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Report reaching The Tide has it that no  fewer than six communities including some government primary and secondary schools have been engulfed by flooding in  Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State.
According to the report, the affected communities are Obiofu, Utu-Umuoriji, Ase-Azaga, Ogbeogene Utuechi and Agwe among others, which are all within the Ndoni axis .    Though details of the incident are sketchy as at the time of filing this report sources within the affected communities said residents are having hard times as the water is rushing to every part of the area.
However, in an interview, an environmentalist,  Ikechukwu Ojoba, said some other communities are about to be submerged.
He mentioned these communities to  include: Kriegani, Aligwu, Idu-Obosiukwu, Idu-Osobile, Agbogwe, Usomini-Omoku, Obieti 1 and Ebeocha, respectively.
According to him, a fact-finding mission which was carried out on Monday  informed that farmlands and crops worth millions of naira had been badly affected by the flood.
The affected residents were said to have been confused as a lot of them have did not an alternative place to relocate.
The authorities of Ogba/ Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area are yet to be reached for comments.

By: John Bibor

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Flooding: Our People Are Helpless, Ubie Monarch Cries Out 

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The Eze Igbu Ubie of Ubie Kingdom of Ahoada West Local Government Area, Eze Okpokiri Maxwell, has blamed the Federal Government for failing to do the necessary things to check the perennial flooding in his kingdom.
Eze Okpokiri, who said this in an exclusive interview with The Tide in Port Harcourt, said his people are helpless in the face of the surging water.
“The flooding issue is a very pathetic situation as far as Ubie kingdom is concerned.
“They said we should move to higher grounds, how do we move, who will help us? As far as I am concerned our people are helpless”, he said.
The royal father regretted that Ubie kingdom has not received any assistance from any quarters as far as flooding is concerned, adding that the kingdom has lost property including human lives to flooding.
“Ubie has lost  buildings, farmlands including lives in the last three years to flooding and there is no assistance from any body,” he said.
He said farmers in his kingdom are now in panic mood, adding that some of them have started harvesting crops to avoid being destroyed by the coming waters.
“Our farmers have started harvesting crops that have just been planted”, he said.
He also said the last flooding rendered many of his people homeless, stressing that those affected are yet to recovers even as another flood is coming.
Okpokiri faulted claims by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) that relief materials were donated to victims in previous years and said that none of his people received relief materials from any agency.
According to him, as the king of the Ubie kingdom, his palace ought to be aware of any agency or company bringing relief materials to his people. He alleged that materials, if any was given, did not get to the right people.
The king blamed the federal government for not doing enough, stressing that proper attention is not given to the issue in the Orashi region.
It would be recalled that the National Emergency Management Agency(NEMA) had recently directed communities in the Orashi part of the state to begin to move to higher grounds as the region will be affected by flooding this year.
Some residents of Ubie and Engenni kingdoms who also spoke on the issue said federal government had not helped them during previous floodings.
They called  on the government to dredge the Orashi river to facilitate free flow of waters.

By: John Bibor & Oreoluwa Adigun

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