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Echoes Of World Environment Day

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The continuous destruction of the ecosystem and depletion of the Ozone layers formed the major topics for discussions at the just concluded World Environment Day (WED) celebration.
Incidentally, the event which held on the 5th of June had as its theme: “Ecosystem Restoration” The event is marked 5th of June every year. The first World Environment Day celebration took place in 1974 in Spokane, United States of America.
The theme for that celebration was: “Only One Earth,”
World Environment Day has always revolved round a theme. For instance, in 2010: the theme was Many Species One Planet, One Future, celebrating the diversity of life on earth. In 2011, the theme was “Forest Nature at Your Service.” 2012: The Green Economy, 2013 celebration theme was “Think eat Save”.
Similarly for 2014, the theme was: International Year of Small Islands developing states with the slogan: “Raise Your Voice not the Sea Level” for 2015, it was “Seven Billion Dreams One Planet, Consume With Care” 2016, it was Go Wild for Life.
Similarly 2017 celebration featured, “Connecting Nature to people” 2018 “Beat Plastic Pollution” while in 2019 it was, “Beat Air pollution” for this year, the theme was, “Ecosystem Restoration”.
Although the celebration had come and gone, its echoes still linger across the world.
Here in Rivers State, the Rivers State Government and several other organisations participated in the celebration.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Dr Nduye C.T. Briggs, described the World Environment Day as a powerful platform to accelerate, amplify and encourage people, communities and governments around the world to take action on critical environment challenges facing the planet.
According to Briggs, who addressed the press during the celebration, the “main objectives of WED therefore, are to identify current environmental issues, protect and preserve our ecosystem and look at various environmental issues growing day by day, spread awareness on the preservation and protection of the environment. “The theme for this year’s (2021) WED celebration means assisting in the recovery of ecosystems that have been degraded destroyed, as well as conserving the ecosystems that are still intact”.
The permanent secretary listed some practical steps that should be taken to restore the ecosystem.
According to him, “We can grow tress, green tree cities, rebuild our gardens, change our diet and clean up rivers and coasts”
He pointed out that, “we are the generation that can make peace with nature,”
According to him, Nature is in crisis, threatened by biodiversity and ecosystem loses, global warming and toxic pollution.”
Dr Briggs, urged the people of Rivers State to protect and preserve the environment in order to save and restore the ecosystem.
“Let us reflect on our activities and their impacts on the environment and engage in practices that ensures, sustainability of the environment”
He pleaded with those involved in illegal refining of crude oil and bunkering to stop it.
“I want to appeal to all and sundry to stop illegal refining of crude oil and bunkering activities, burning of refuses, especially plastics and other hazardous wastes and indiscriminate felling of trees and bush burning.
“These activities, not only affect the air quality and the ozone layer, but also pollute both surface and ground waters”
He said, the Rivers State Government on its part will continue to protect the environment as well as ensure that policies on the ecosystem restoration are complied with, while also providing social amenities and protecting lives and property.
Also speaking on the theme in an interview with The Tide, the Rivers State President of the Waste Management Society of Nigeria (WAMASON), Mr Abu Benson said, “restoring the ecosystem means protecting their biodiversity and helping them to deliver benefits for the people”.
“It means using ecosystem on land and in the oceans in ways that strengthen their natural resources and processes”.
Abu listed ways in which the ecosystem can be restored to include, supporting the national policy on solid waste management and the plastic waste management initiative to take effect at local, state and national levels.
Pledge support for restoration or conservation initiatives, including cleaning up a lake beach, park or other natural area as well as greening our homes, business, school or public spaces as professional members with indigenous trees or plants.
The WAMASON state chairman also advocated for halting purchases of products and services that are not certified as sustainable as well as imbibing the culture and practices of sustainable waste management.
Similarly, in a press release to mark the day, the Centre for Environment Human Rights Development (CEHRD) condemned gas flaring penalties.
“The overt relaxed penalty for gas flaring that makes economic sense for oil companies to flare gas and pay the penalty rather than adopt trending technology in gas reuse does not help and potentially limits the opportunities for achieving the Nigeria’s nationally determined contribution (NDC).
According to CEHRD, strengthening existing policies and legislations is critical to providing a holistic solution to protecting, preserving and restoring the environment which are key components of ecosystem restoration”.
The centre also called on the citizenry and government at all levels to take practical steps to prevent further loss of biodiversity and restore degraded ecosystems.
“Individuals, communities and the multinational companies must also put an end to practice, that compromised conservation and restoration of biodiversity.
“These include, artisanal refining of crude oil, over exploration of mangroves for firewood, fishing with dynamite and gas flaring.
“We demand that the government of Nigeria should as a matter of urgency embark on a robust sensitisation on citizen’s environmental stewardship and coordinate participatory and sustainable actions to restoring degraded mangroves and rainforests.”
It also urged for a national policy on tree planting in every home, in schools, colleges and public parks, while existing legislations including the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) Act and the Environmental Impact Assessment Act be strengthened. The theme is laudable but government must go beyond mere policy-making, by taking action.
In the Niger Delta for instance, action should be lauder than word.
All in all, the celebration has once again re-awakened the consciousness of the society to take action to protect our ecosystem.

By: John Bibor/Miracle Peters

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Anglican Bishop Hails Wike’s Support For Church

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The retiring Anglican Bishop of Niger Delta Diocese, Ralph Cornelius Ebirien, has commended the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, for his invaluable contributions to the church, saying that the governor has shown much love and support to the church.
Ebirien stated this during his pre-retirement press briefing at the diocesan church headquarters in Port Harcourt, yesterday, as part of activities marking his retirement and pulling out from Anglican priestly ministry as well as to mark his 70th birthday celebration, tomorrow.
The bishop, who is the sixth diocesan bishop of Niger Delta, said that the governor, through his generosity and support to the diocese, renovated the Nyemoni Grammar School, Abonnema, making the school one of the best schools in the state.
“God used Governor Nyesom Wike to renovate the Nyemoni Grammar School, today is among the best.We thank him for his love, also his Deputy, Dr Ipalibo Harry Banigo, who is a member of diocese. They have shown us love and support”.
Recounting his 12 years’ achievement as the bishop of the diocese, Ebirien disclosed that prominent of his flagship programmes include yearly Sunday school conference, continuous training and re-training of pastors and the clergy, planting of new churches as well as giving scholarship to indigent members of the church, among others.
“We are committed to spiritual development through the revival of the Sunday school conference. The number of people we confirmed was over 5,000;we admitted many into mother’s guild, teach people Bible and prayer ministry.”
The out-going bishop, while commending members and the clergy for the support given to his family in the past 12 years, advised them to let brotherly love that has bound the church together continue, adding that what took the church to its present height was love.
“Bring the little you have for the work of God. Recognise Him as your helper, be appreciative and grateful”, he said.
Ralph urged members of the church not to be aloof in political participation but be active players in the polity.
“Get your PVC so as to vote credible men that will be God-fearing and help the church, irrespective of your party affiliation during the next elections”.
The bishop in company of members of the clergy and the leadership of the church, paid his last episcopal visit to the Port Harcourt Children Home, and Our Saviours’ Hospital owned by the church,where he donated food items, and also prayed for the inmates.

By: Akujobi Amadi

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Lagos To Partner Firm On Digital Economy

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The Lagos State Governor, BabajideSanwo-Olu, has said that the State will  partner with TERAWORK, a tech platform for hiring freelancers, to explore the gig and digital economy.
According to Sanwo-Olu,  this partnership will help upskill youths and train them to seize employment opportunities in tech industries globally.
He disclosed this while paying a visit to the business stand of the company during the Lagos Employment Summit organised by the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, recently.
“The Lagos State Government is scaling its intervention in critical areas of the economy. As part of that effort, we are rejigging the activities of the LSETF to broaden its impact in terms of strengthening the productivity of businesses and entrepreneurs”, he said.
He noted that the platform will offer an impressive proposition and solutions that meet the expansive needs of the active segment.
The also said that it will help businesses  to raise productivity level by leveraging the skills of a wide range of freelancers while also creating new job opportunities for the teeming youth segment.
The Chief Executive Officer, TERAWORK, Femi Taiwo, who spoke during a break out of the summit themed, ‘The Future of Work: Gig Economy’, said the gig economy is the locus of shared prosperity in the 21st century.
Taiwo, also pointed out that  it can be expanded to drive economic growth if appropriate national policies are formulated and implemented.

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PH City Marathon: Over 3000 Athletes To Run, Saturday

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Over, 3000 athletes are expected to take part in the 16 kilo meter Port Harcourt City Marathon Race this Saturday.
Take off point is scheduled be Forces Avenue, by Christ Church,  back of SPAR shopping Mall, in Port Harcourt, by 7:00am.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with  Tidesports, on Saturday, shortly after athletes collected their  numbers of participation , at Las Mall  Hotels and Resorts,  Rumukalagbor, the Chief organiser of the event, Goodluck Azunwena, said all arrangements had been concluded for the event on Saturday.
According to him, over 200 volunteers, have indicated interest to ensure that the race was successful, adding that various medical outfits, doctors, road safety officers are fully prepared, as health talks was also delivered to athletes.
“ The crowd was really overwhelming today. Honestly we are really impressed with the turnout, that means many athletes were waiting for such event.
As I speak, so many volunteers have indicated interest to work with us, private hospitals have also pledged to give out their ambulances and doctors to be on ground that day. We have also contacted the road safety, police and other security agents to ensure a hitch-free race” Azunwena said.
He advised athletes not to take the competition like a do or die affairs saying that they should exhibit what sports stand for, that is  unity, friendship and love.
Speaking,  one of the intending competitors, Jude Nwanaopara, a footballer, said he is optimistic to win the race, in spite of the fact that this would be his first time to compete in a  long distance race.
According to him, if he comes up top he will use the money to solve his personal problems.
“ I am optimistic that I will win the race being a sportsman, but I must say that this is my first time to enter such competition.
“I have self prophecy that I am going to win” Nwanaopara said.
Another competitor,   student, Victor Okoro, said he was inspired to go for the race following his walking skill.
He explained that he had been looking for  such opportunity to run marathon race to showcase his talent, saying that he is happy that what he was looking for will happen in Port Harcourt.
“ I have the belief that I will win because I have been walking from school to my house for three hours , which is more than that 16 kilometer,” Okoro said.

By: Tonye Orabere

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