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Environmental Body Cautions On Natural Resources’ Exploitation

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As the nation transits to a New government, the Global Environmental Facility Small Grant Programme (GEF SGP), has urged Nigerian leaders to intensify efforts to pay attention to the exploitation of the nation’s natural resources.
GEF SGP National Coordinator, Mrs Ibironke Olubamise, gave the advice in an interview with the Newsmen in Abuja.
Olubamise said that it is necessary for the leadership to look critically to the issues of environment and natural resource exploitation and change current paradigm of wasteful and unconcerned exploitation.
“Nigeria is blessed with vast natural resources. There is the varied rich natural vegetation which traverse the west and east of the nation in a beautiful artistic pattern that will make any gifted arts to find great treasure of work to produce from.
“The vegetation is distributed from the freshwater swamp forest to the mangrove forest and coastal vegetation and lowland forest in the southern part of the country to the derived savannah, guinea savannah, sudan/sahel savannah, and montane ecosystems in the north.
“Also deep in our soils are earthen treasures that can make Nigeria to be envied amongst the comity of nations,” she said.
According to her, these resources play vital and diverse roles in our economy, ecology and social lives.
“There is no aspect of live that does not require these resources in varied form and quantity. Unfortunately, these resources have been unsustainably exploited to the point that they have become a curse rather than a blessing.
“Increasing population and unsustainable exploitation of these resources have put so much pressure and the carrying capacity of the resources have been stretched beyond remedy.
“Thus, if we are to continue to aspire for greater development as a nation, there is need to pay serious attention to the manner of exploitation of these resources.
“Not only are the resources becoming scarce, the environmental degradation that results from these unsustainable practices are also causing serious havoc to live and living,” Olubamise said.
The National coordinator said that Nigeria should ensure that it continues to meet its development aspiration and that generations unborn are not deprived of their own rights to meet their development needs.
“It is to this end that it is necessary for the leadership to look critically to the issues of environment and natural resource exploitation and change our current paradigm of wasteful and unconcerned exploitation.
“We are not without solutions to these challenges. Only the political will to do something worthwhile is necessary,” she said.
Olubamise recalled that Nigeria was a signatory to many of the international treaties to address the challenges of environmental degradation, scarcity and equitable distribution of resources.
According to her, efforts must be made by the government to understand the real situation and make definite efforts to make the necessary change.
“Review of negative policies and practices, which contribute to environmental degradation and development of new ones that will work from the remote communities to urban cities is urgently necessary.
“Government needs an inclusive policy to involve all stakeholders. The culprit and the victims alike.The solution may seem daunting but not insurmountable.
“The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan and other related documents should not be made to sit on the shelves but to be review, harmonized and put to practical use if the country is to achieve her environmental goals,” she said.
According to her, the risks associated with environment degradation, natural resource depletion and natural disasters are getting more attention and better appreciated by some groups, especially the insurance and financial institutions.
“Yet one of the most important group of stakeholders which have not been adequately incorporated into the discussions on environment and natural resources is the organized private sector.
“Efforts must be made by the government to ensure the incorporation of environmental accounting and biodiversity finance into the traditional accounting system.
“The National Planning Commission must be adequately informed in order to initiate policies that will enhance sustainable development,” the National coordinator said.
She added that the he youth needed all the information and support to develop their dexterity to address environmental issues beyond the current noise on social media without any depth of the issues at stake.
“Much effort for qualitative technical education to address environmental problems is needed and must be officially introduced into the national school curriculum.
“As a new government is sworn in, our paradigm must change from that which assumes that resources are infinite to reflect on the scarcity that has hit us and to adjust policies accordingly.
“I can imagine what happens if the entire nation starts to think reduce, reuse, recycle for every resource we exploit to meet our needs,” Olubamise said.

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Hoscon Decries Pollution Of Niger Delta …Urges for 13percent derivation committee 

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The Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSCON) has has said the continuous pollution of the Niger Delta is having negative impact on the Niger Delta environment .
It also called on the Federal Government to establish 13 per cent oil derivation presidential implementation committee and allow the host community to nominate members.
Its said that the peoples of the Niger Delta regions are suffering due to the non-implementation of the 13 percent derivation.
National Chairman of HOSCON, Dr Mike Emu, made the call in Abuja during the 2023 Oil and Gas Stakeholders Festival with the theme: “Uniting Stakeholders-A Road Map for Energy Transition”.
He noted that the section 132, sub-section 2, cap 39 of the 1999 Constitution as amended made it very clear that 13 percent derivation is for the host community.
He said, “The Federal Government has tried. There are a number of billions that are in the budget of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, talk about 13 percent derivation that goes to the Niger Delta, about 40, 50 billion every month shared to the government of the oil producing states.
The three percent PIA that has been passed into law, one year, five months now, no implementation of it, unfortunately it is set law. I wonder what is actually happening.
“I may not major on the problem of illegal refinery, pipeline vandalization, or oil theft. But the people of the Niger Delta are suffering, there is no drinking water in the creeks”.
In her remarks, the convener, Oil and Gas Stakeholders Festival, Ms Faith Wilkinson, admonished host communities to embrace change and deviate from the old methods to the new methods of transiting into a better economy.
She said, “We are having post festival training, originally the programme was designed to come with training for women and youths in the oil and gas industry in energy transition.
“But what we are trying to do is after this, we are going to have training for the women and the youths to begin to engage them on issues that are related to the industry”.

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Reactions Trail Another Flood Predictions …As FG Says 178 LGAs May Be Flooded This Year

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Reactions are now trailing the predictions of another flooding this year.
It would be recalled that the Federal Government, has on Friday in Abuja announced that a total of 178 Local Government Areas in 32 states and the Federal Capital Territory were at risk of high floods this year
A cross section of respondents urged government of the affected states and local Government Areas to take immediate measures towards ensuring that the situation does not have much negative impact on the people.
Speaking with The Tide, an Environmentalist prince Sodin Akiagba urged for the construction of internally Displaced Persons camps in flood prone areas.
.He also called for the dredging of the Orashi river to ensure the free flow of water.
Also speaking a Niger Delta Activist Rev.Sokari Soberekon said government should do something urgently about the impending flood disaster.

He regretted that another flood is coming when people are yet to recover from that of last year.

According to him, communities should be sensitize to be alert this time around stressing that the sufferings of last year should be avoided.
Also speaking prince William Chinwo said those in flood ravaged communities should think of ways to relocate to higher ground.
He also called on government to provide logistics to communities to enable them relocate.
It would be recalled that

while providing the general highlights of the 2023 Annual Flood Outlook put together by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency and presented to the public by the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu the government said 178 local Government Areas will be affected by flooding this year.
According to the minister,

“The forecasts for 2023 AFO shows that 178 Local Government Areas in 32 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory fall within the highly probable flood risk areas”

He added, “224 Local Government Areas in 35 states of the federation including the FCT fall within the moderately probable flood risk areas. The remaining 402 Local Government Areas fall within the probable flood risk areas.”

The minister outlined the highly probable flood risk states to include Adamawa, Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Ekiti, and Edo.

Others include Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara and the Federal Capital Territory.

For probable flood risk areas between the months of April and November 2023, Adamu said the level of floods in this category was expected to be high in terms of impact on the population, agriculture, livelihood, livestock, infrastructure and the environment.

“Part of 66 LGAs across the country fall within the highly probable risk areas in the months of Apnl, May and June, while part of 148 LGAs fall in the months of July, August and September, and part of 100 LGAs in the months of October and November 2023,” he stated.

The water resources minister further explained that a moderate impact level of floods were expected in parts of 41 LGAs within the months of April, May and June; and in parts of 199 LGAs within the months of July, August and September; as well as parts of 73 LGAs within the months of October and November 2023.

He said the AFO by NIHSA also showed that coastal flooding would be experienced in Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Lagos, Ogun, Rivers and Ondo states due to rise in sea level and tidal surge, which would impact on fishing, wildlife habitation and river navigation.

The report stated that flash and urban floods would be experienced in urban city centres across the country.

“Among these cities are Lagos, Kaduna, Suleja, Gombe, Yola, Makurdi, Lafia, Asaba, Port Harcourt, Yenagoa, Ibadan, Abeokuta. Benin City, Bernin Kebbi, Sokoto, Lokoja, Maiduguri, Kano, Oshogbo, Ado-Ekiti, Abakaliki, Awka, Nsukka, Calabar and Owerri,” Adamu stated.

Meanwhile, the minister pointed out that the AFO was presented to the public on Friday to help the federal and state governments to better prepare for and respond to potential flood events.

“As we learn and recover from the catastrophic effects of the 2022 flood disasters, I have the strong view that the 2023 Annual Flood Outlook will serve as a veritable tool for effective strategic planning to avert loss of lives and property through adequate, coordinated and effective flood early warning and sensitisation, awareness campaigns, improved flood mitigation strategies and preparedness for risk reduction by all stakeholders,” he stated.

By: John Bibor

 

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RSG Harps On Water Standard 

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As part of efforts in ensuring safe drinking water comsumption in the State with the view to sanitize the industry of quacks, Rivers State goverment has again conducted a two day participatory  training for Water Service Providers.
Speaking at the event in Port-Harcourt under the theme “ Water Quality Management And Regulatory Compliance “, Commissioner for Water Resources and Rural Development, Prof Kaniye Ebeku stated that  the training will enable the participants have a better understanding of the laws that govern the water sector in Rivers State, which is a prerequisite for being licenced as service provider in the State.
In his words “Rivers State Government places high premium on her citizenry and visitors.Therefore, the abstraction, production and distribution of portable water and even waste water is of great concern to the Wike led administration, hence he has directed me to ensure sanity in the water sector, he added”
Ebeku admitted that the  State government is aware of some illegal factories who are operating in the State with fake NAFDAC number,  in one room facility and stated that the training will give such persons an opportunity to learn how to produce, package and sell portable water in the State.
Prof Kaniye Ebeku further maintained that ‘water is life, without gender, race, ethnic colouration and that any error in the sector will affect the entire population, hence we must get it right”, he said.
He cited WHO research findings which disclosed that water related disease amount for 4.1% estimated cases of global disease burden and cause about 1.8million death annually with 88% which is attributed to unsafe water supply, sanitation and poor personal hygiene.
The Water Resources and Rural Development Commissioner expreses hope that the knowledge gain from the training/workshop will birth sustainable operations while producing portable water in the State and enjoined them to  report any factory disobeying the order and lowering the standards.
The two day participatory training workshop organised by Rivers State Water Services Regulatory Commission under the direct supervision of the Commissioner in pursuant to the Rivers State Water Sector development law no. 7, 2012 to upgrade their performance and protect public health also had practical sessions where participants were made to test their water themselves.
Responding, the State Chairman, Association of Table Water Producers, (ATWAP)Pst Okey Okafor  expressed gratitude to the Commissioner on behalf of his colleagues for the training which he said that every stage of the training was brilliant and an eye opener which they will replicate in their operations as there are silence aspect of the industry that the training bought to the fore.

By: John Bibor

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