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Soot Increases Poverty In Rivers – Survey

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A survey has revealed that more people are suffering from poverty as a result of the ‘black soot’  in Rivers State.
The survey was conducted by Climate Action for Sustainability and Environmental Protection, supported by The British Council ,European Union and implemented by the Rivers Network of NGOs and the Center for Development Support Initiative.
The survey also identified women, children and people with disabilities as worst affected by the soot.
It noted that the soot increased more spending on medication as the situations led to more respiratory infections
Speaking in an interview with The Tide, the coordinator of Rivers Network of NGOs, Dr. Mina Ogbanga said the situation has underscored the need for the govement to come up with a free medical care programme for the people.
“First and foremost this is the power of converting research to action.From the research we know some people will need medical support in the sense that if the government can run a free medical care to test the respiratory status of vulnerable groups ,it will help,”she said.
She said the soot has increased poverty as parents spend more money buying soap and going to hospital more than before.
Ogbanga who is also the county director of the Centre for Development Support Initiative said the group is pushing for a zero soot in Rivers State to ensure that people are empowered.
“We are pushing for a zero soot in Rivers State where people will be economically, physically and sociologically empowered.
She stressed the need for passage of the soot bill before the state Assembly to ensure penalties for those promoting soot in the state.

“If the soot law is passed there will be penalties for people causing damage to the environment”

Ogbanga also advised young people to say no to kpofire and other activities that will damage the environment.

By: John Bibor

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Nigeria Pledges $550,000 Contribution To Great Green Wall Secretariat

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President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged the sum of 550,000 dollars as Nigeria’s contribution to the building of the Great Green Wall Secretariat.
The president made the pledge at the 8th Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of Pan-African Agency of the Great Green Wall (PAGGW), at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja.
Buhari, represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said African countries must continue to explore various measures to combat climate change and desertification, while addressing food insecurity and poverty across the continent.
Nigeria is part of the African Union’s Great Green Wall initiative which aims to restore the continent’s degraded landscapes and transform millions of lives, while boosting food security, and strengthening climate resilience.
“I have, in my capacity as the President of the Conference of Heads of States and Government of Member States, directed the Minister of Finance of Nigeria to lead the initiative to access the funds pledged by our partners under the Great Green Wall Accelerator.
“The minister will take appropriate steps in line with the understanding we had at the Abidjan side meeting held on May 9.
“Having also fulfilled the payment of our outstanding contribution of about 654, 291 dollars, I am also glad to pledge the sum of 550,000 dollars as our contribution to the building of the Great Green Wall Secretariat.
“I call on other member countries to follow suit by contributing towards the building of a befitting office for the PAGGW,” he said.
The president stated that he had directed the Federal Ministry of Environment to coordinate the release of some vehicles for the use of PAGGW secretariat and allied agencies.

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Walter Rodney Has Inspired HOMEF – Environmentalist

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The Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Dr Nnimmo Bassey, has said the life and times of late Guyanese historian and political activist, Walter Rodney, has inspired the Foundation.
HOMEF is an environmental rights focused civil society group that advocates preservation and protection of the biodiversity in Nigeria.
Bassey, who holds a national honours of Member of the Order of Federal Republic (MFR) for Environmental Activism, said this at a virtual event in memory of Rodney who was assassinated on June 13, 1980.
The Tide source reports that the event, which has its title as: ‘Conversation with Walter Rodney’, was facilitated and anchored by Ken Henshaw, a Civil Society activist, and Bassey.
The event drew participants from different parts of the country.
Bassey said that Rodney, author of the book: ‘How Europe Underdeveloped Africa’, provided academic insights that helped African Nationalists to confront imperialism and colonialism.
He regretted that young Africans had lost a sense of patriotism and hence the need for the forum to get young people to appreciate and drew knowledge from heroes like Rodney.
The Lead Discussant, Prof Horace Campbell, an International Scholar in African American Affairs, regretted the lack of emphasis on the positive sides of Africa and the strides made by African patriots.
He said that there was a deliberate effort by imperialists who colonised Africa to create the impression that there was nothing good in Africa whilst they exploited its resources for raw materials for their industrial revolutions.
Campbell recalled that although Rodney was assassinated on June 13, 1980, the ideals and concepts he worked to propagate, still resonates, adding that capitalism exploited resources to the detriment of the people.
He noted that it was regrettable that current challenges facing the African continent had kept the people from dealing with its potentials.

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Stakeholders Task Govt On Art, Craft Sector Investment

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Some top academicians from the Department of Fine Arts in some Nigerian universities and other stakeholders have said that investment in the art and craft sector will help the society to overcome the problem of plastic pollutions.
They made this known at an art exhibition titled: ‘Identity Polemic’ organised by Chairman, Rivers State Indigenous Fine Artists, Mr. Woko Aguru Joy in Port Harcourt.
Some of the scholars including Prof Frank Obioma and Dr. Francis E.K Francis told The Tide during the exhibition that artistic works are now reducing the number of plastic waste being thrown around by members of the society.
They noted that, aside from the use of plastic waste even log woods which some times constitute a big environmental problem are being utilised by fine artists for the production of art work.
Prof Frank Obioma said even the concept of waste to wealth is best promoted by Artists.
He said because of the process of recycling of the waste, people can now sell their waste to generate money.
Obioma said a policy to encourage this development should be put in place by relevant authorities.
He praised Woko for his consistency in the development of the sector, describing the exhibition as an impressive outing.
“One of the exhibitions that caught my attention was his first solo exhibition.
“He has been consistent in his desire to introduce a new thing. Fine object that he has been passionate about”, he said.
On his part, Dr. Francis E.K. Francis said the Rivers State Indigenous Fine Artists chairman has lent his voice to the Save the Planet Earth movement.
“His works speak volumes through the waste to wealth programme. He has put a voice to say save the planet, save the earth”.
Francis also said the exhibition is about visual and building a strong state on earth.
He however, said government alone cannot do everything as the challenge to curb environmental pollution lies with everyone.
For Prof Etido Effiong Williams, visual communication can contribute to a better society.
He said apart from the waste recycling process, the various works also speak loudly about the rot in the Nigerian society.
He said the neglect of the Art sector is not helping as far as the creation of employment was concerned,  adding that the sector was capable of generating millions of jobs through waste recycling..
According to him, some African countries such as Senegal used their Art sector to attract millions of tourists every year.
He also called for the establishment of Art gallery in the state.
Speaking,  Engr. Ozuruke Ake said Artists can also use tyes to beautify the cities.
He said government needs to talk to artists to do things right.
Speaking with The Tide, the exhibitioner, Mr. Aguru Woko Joy said the industry cannot do without synergy with professionals.
Aguru said with the recycling process, the artist is creating jobs for the teeming unemployed youths.
He said artists in Rivers State need the right environment to perform.
“Government should come in. Government should create  consciousness about works of Art. It can be used to reduce waste”.
Aguru also stressed  the need for the government to set up a programme to empower the artists.
“If there is an Art carnival, it will bring people across the world.
Aguru said a lot of discussions are going to change the narrative about the work of the artists.
He said identity polemic was designed to create consciousness among Nigerians especially now that election is around the corner.

By: John Bibor & Orbim Ibama

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